Te whakatau he aha hei ako māu - Deciding what to study

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me he maunga teitei

Pursue that which is precious and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain.


There are a lot of things to consider when you're deciding waht to study - your goals, what level of qualification, or even where to start.


He whāinga ōu? – Do you have a goal in mind?

When it comes to deciding what to study, it’s important to think about your end goal. 

  • Do you want to support your iwi (tribe) and whānau (family) or share your skills and knowledge with your marae?
  • Are you trying to get into a specific job or area of work?
  • Are you seeking to develop in your current role or aiming to get a promotion?

Answering some of these questions might help you to decide what you need to study and the level of qualification you need to aim for.

Kei konei mātou hei āwhina – We're here to help

Before you enrol with us, our Kaitohutohu Ākonga (Māori Student Advisors) can talk to you about your goals, help you decide what programme will best suit your needs and what your learning journey will look like.  

Or if you have already started your study journey, they can help to decide on your next course. 

If you would like to make a booking to talk to an advisor, get in touch:  


Te momo tohu me ō wheako e whakatau ai koe he aha hei tohu māu - How level and previous experience can help you decide

Tohu – level of qualification

Connected to your goal is what level of qualification to aim for – certificate, diploma or degree. How long each takes will depend on whether you study full-time (around 40 hours of study a week) or part-time. 

  • Certificates usually range from 40 to 80 credits, so vary in how many courses you will do and how long it will take.  
  • Diplomas are usually 120 credits. This could mean one or two years of full-time study.  
  • Degrees are 360 credits, which may be three to four years if you study full-time. 

Feel free to talk to a Kaitohutohu Ākonga (Student Advisor, Māori) about what will work best for your goals.

Diagram showing qualification levels - Certificates can be levels 1 to 4, Diplomas levels 4 to 6, and Degrees are Level 7

Wheako and tohu ō mua – Your previous experience and qualifications

When you're deciding what to study it's also worth checking if you have any previous study or experience that could be cross credited or recognised towards the qualification you want to aim for. This could reduce the number of courses you need to do.  

Learn more about cross credits and recognition of prior learning

Paearu tomonga - Entry requirements

All of our qualifications have entry requirements, but if you don’t meet them for the qualification that interests you don't give up.  

Have a kōrero (chat) with one of our Kaitohutohu Ākonga (Māori Student Advisors) about your options and potential pathways for you to consider. 


Kāore anō kia tau te ara mōu? – Not sure what direction to take?

If you are eager to study, but aren't sure what, check out the page linked to below for tips. It also has links to tools and resources on the CareersNZ website that could help you decide:

How to decide what to study 

Another way to get ideas is to have a look at job vacancies in areas that interest you. This will help you see what sorts of jobs are available and where people are in demand. Below are some job sites that may be of use (all links open a new tab).

Ahu Jobs 

Kumara Vine


Māori and Pacific Jobs

My Job Space


Trademe Jobs

You could also try one of our foundation courses while you are deciding what to study. They will help prepare you for your study journey, and are great if you haven’t studied before or for a while.  

If you are interested, contact one of our Kaitohutohu Kaitohutohu Ākonga (Māori Student Advisors) about your options and what might work for you.  

Learn more about our foundation courses