Āheitanga Thesis scholarship - applications open for 2023

May 15, 2023

Every year, Motu Research offers a one-year $10,000 scholarship pool to enhance research capacity in Aotearoa’s Māori community. It is offered to university students of Māori descent who are working on (or are planning to work on) an Honours, Masters or PhD thesis.  


Applications for the scholarship are currently OPEN until 15 September 2023.


See all information here or email us.  If you are interested, please fill in this application formread this information sheet and ask your tutor to fill in the reference report


One of Motu Research’s objectives is to build capacity in economic and public policy research in Aotearoa. We aim to improve individuals, groups and institutions' capacity and ability to do empirical and theoretical research on public policy in Aotearoa. We do this through training, collaboration and sponsorship of students or researchers. One of our aims is to make Aotearoa a more attractive location for top researchers, including expatriate New Zealanders, to work.


Through our Āheitanga Thesis scholarship, we hope to help enhance research capacity in Aotearoa’s Māori community and help students of Māori descent research topics relevant to public policy development.


Our preference is the thesis topics are in economics, or some other social science and use a quantitative methodology.


Based on the applicants, Motu Research decides each year if we award the scholarship pool to one candidate or split it between two candidates.


Some past recipients of the Āheitanga Thesis scholarship include:

  • Mākere Hurst won the 2022 scholarship. Her PhD is in Public Policy through the School of Government at Te Herenga Waka (Victoria University of Wellington). Mākere’s PhD topic is: assessing Māori wellbeing and the relationship between Māori and natural resources, including land, on modern wellbeing outcomes.
  • Taylor Winter (Ngāi Tahu) co-won the 2021 scholarship. A PhD Candidate at the School of Psychology at the Victoria University of Wellington, Taylor has a broad interest in wellbeing. He will use the scholarship to investigate how income may lead to lower levels of happiness than it has historically.
  • Rangimaria Aperahama co-won the 2021 scholarship. She is completing a BA Honours in Economics through Massey University. She will use the scholarship money next year to begin a PhD expand on her current research looking at distribution in the Māori Economy.
  • Correna Matika (Ngāti Kuri and Ngāti Wairere (Tainui) descent) won the 2017 scholarship. She used the scholarship to complete her PhD in psychology at the University of Auckland.
  • In 2016, Hautahi Kingi (Nga Rauru, Te Atihaunui a Paparangi) a PhD candidate in economics at Cornell University in the United States won the scholarship. Mr Kingi has two elements to his research, one around immigration and the other looking into tax and consumption. You can read more about Hautahi here.
  • Lucy Cowie (Ngāti Ranginui), the 2015 recipient, is completing her honours degree in Psychology. Her dissertation focused on the role of Māori identity in predicting the extent to which people endorse environmentalism. Lucy is a research assistant at the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland.
  • Lara Greaves (Ngāti Kurī, Te Āti Awa, Ngāpuhi) during her scholarship year in 2014, Lara’s Masters thesis looked at proposed research on quantitative models of Māori mental, physical and financial health based on identity. She received an A+ for this work, which has now been published. Lara continues to work as the Lab Manager for The New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study, in the School of Psychology at University of Auckland. She is now a PhD student investigating how different aspects of Māori identity predict voting behaviour.
  • Dr George Gray (Ngaiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui) was already a Doctor when he received the scholarship in 2008. He used the money to complete a Masters in Public Health on the economic evaluation of cardiac rehabilitation in New Zealand at existing and increased attendance rates for Māori and non-Māori.
  • Dale Warburton (Te Āti Awa) was the first scholarship recipient in 2007. He was also an intern at Motu, where he focused on female labour supply in New Zealand. His Masters is in Geography. His thesis at Victoria University was on the effect of unpaid work on employment rates among young Māori and non-Māori females.