Embracing Te Ao Māori to Rebuild a Sustainable Future for Chefs in Aotearoa New Zealand
Chef working in kitchen


Culinary pedagogy, Biculturalism, manaakitaka, whānaukataka, kotahitaka, vocational education

How to Cite

Woodhouse, A., & Humphreys, C. (2022). Embracing Te Ao Māori to Rebuild a Sustainable Future for Chefs in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Innovation in Polytechnic Education, 4(2), 15–21. https://doi.org/10.69520/jipe.v4i2.136


The professional kitchen is a fast-paced environment often founded on hierarchical structures and stressful working conditions. Within this environment, tensions often run high resulting in aggressive behaviours, and at times, bullying and violence towards junior chefs.  For the last decade the hospitality sector has been struggling to recruit and retain aspiring chefs into the professional kitchen. Compounding the recruitment issue is the social narrative that the hospitality industry is a poorly paid profession that works long and unsociable hours. 

Due to the global pandemic the hospitality sector has suffered significant upheaval resulting in significant numbers of its workforce choosing to leave the industry. Like other countries around the globe, the hospitality sector in Aotearoa New Zealand is having to rethink and reset the way it operates in a new post covid landscape. Central to this is the questioning of established modes of practice and reimagining a new hospitality future.

In response to the changing landscape of hospitality, the Bachelor of Culinary Arts programme at Te Kura Matakini ki Otago (Otago Polytechnic), Aotearoa New Zealand developed a bicultural pedagogic framework that embraces te ao Māori values. As a strategy to educate chefs into alternative workplace behaviours and cultures the values of manaakitaka (care and integrity towards self and others), whānaukataka (integrity of relationship), and kotahitaka (a sense of collective unity and ownership) are deliberately integrated into the programmes pedagogy and the courses learning outcomes. In doing so, this pedagogic framework upholds the world views, values, and mana of Aotearoa’s takata whenua (Indigenous people), while also attempting to rebalance the historical practices of the professional kitchen.



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