Heke Ahunga Tikanga

Diploma in Māori Laws and Philosophy

Become entrenched in tikanga Māori and open up your philosophical mind as you take a journey back to the origins of tikanga itself, how it related to us then and its relevance in today’s ever changing world.  

This one year diploma will introduce you to the presence of tikanga Māori as a highly successful and self-contained system of law. You will explore whakapapa and the beginnings of Māori law, Ranginui, Papatūānuku, Tāne and Tangaroa. In addition, analyse the impact of of Pākehā values on Māori legal systems, and critique legal processes encountered in contemporary times.

This is an excellent tohu for mainstream law graduates who want to enhance existing kete, skills and knowledge. Also those looking to enter into the legal sector, policy and research, or anyone involved in iwi, hapū, marae affairs. 

The Heke (Diploma) begins with the concept of whakapapa which is regarded as the foundation of Māori law, and which leads to a consideration of the fundamental principles of tikanga Māori such as whanaungatanga, utu, tapu and noa. 

Heke Ahunga Tikanga is the first year of the Poutuarongo Ahunga Tikanga degree.

Download the digital flyer pdf Heke Ahunga Tikanga.

Heke Ahunga Tikanga

Diploma in Māori Laws and Philosophy

Code: HAT
Credits: 120
1 year
Level: NZQA Level 5
Delivery: Residential seminars, self directed learning and online delivery
Location: Ōtaki
Mode: Bilingual (Māori/English)
Next Intake: Huringa 1 (14 March 2022)
Entry Requirements: Minimum age of 17 years. Regular internet access, email address and computer or laptop with a working mic and camera are required.
Tuition Fees: $3,379 (approximately)




  • Year One

    PATA101 Whakapapa and the Beginning of Law
    PATA102 Laws of Ranginui and Papatūānuku
    PATA103 Laws of Tāne
    PATA104 Laws of Tangaroa


    IWI101 Private Study of One Marae
    IWI102 Private Study of Iwi History


    REO101 Hui Rumaki Reo 1
    REO102 Hui Rumaki Reo 2



Please contact your course administrator (Freda Moffitt, ext 887) for details.

After Graduation

Ka puta te ihu

  • Independent researcher
  • Project researcher

Past Graduate


Dorothy Te Marama Rāroa
Nō Ngāti Porou, Te Arawa,
Ngāti Tūwharetoa
Heke Ahunga Tikanga


I’ve always wanted to study full time and when I was looking for a degree to complete, Ahunga Tikanga was the one that really resonated with me. This is what brought me to Te Wānanga o Raukawa, they are the only one who offer a tohu like this.

I grew up in Reporoa with my parents and koroua. I am a descendant of Ngāti Whaoa and Ngāti Tahu of that area. I am married to Tony who descends from Ngāti Whakaue of Te Arawa and together we have three children who all attend Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata. We are both passionate about tō tātau reo rangatira me ōna tikanga and mana motuhake. I am actively involved on several trusts including marae reservations and ahu whenua and sit on a few boards.

I’ve come back to study to gain a qualification. I wanted to validate to myself that I am capable, have credibility and understanding of what I am aware of. Whilst I’ve had many years’ experience in law and been involved in kaupapa Māori, I’ve never had a tohu that shows that!

The quality of tutors who we have had access to and who I’ve been privileged to meet while completing this degree has been amazing. 

The concepts I am learning are helping me to provide a better understanding to myself, my whānau, hapū and the communities I am involved with about why we are in the predicaments we are in and the process of colonisation. It’s important to acknowledge this process so that we can move towards a better tomorrow. With Tikanga, it’s important to understand where we have come from and where we want to go.

The quality of tutors who we have had access to and who I’ve been privileged to meet while completing this degree has been amazing. The manaakitanga and the way we are taught helps clear the space to be able to focus on the learning. The pūkenga on this tohu give so much of themselves; they are living and breathing examples of how we should be living, they go out of their way to manaaki or assist to help you achieve.

The Wānanga provides you with the tools however the best thing is going home, spending time at your marae and talking to your whānau and kaumātua. Ahunga Tikanga coupled with iwi and hapū studies provides an opportunity to learn and apply to your home and work.

My goal is to retire at 60 but until then I’ll graduate with my Poutuarongo Ahunga Tikanga next year and will look at starting my masters. There is a time and a place for everything; I’m ready.

Whāia te iti kahurangi ka tuohu koe me he maunga teitei!