Medical education in Aotearoa/New Zealand has a critical role to play in producing a health professional workforce that is prepared to meet the challenge of addressing Maori health. While cultural competence is an important aspect of this, we argue that Maori health is an educational domain in its own right with distinct learning objectives and educational approaches. An emerging consesus as to the optimal graduate outcomes and key components of a Maori health curriculum is supported by a growing international evidence base in indigenous health education. Several significant challenges exist, many of which can be overcome by reorienting institutional systems, structures and processes to support effective Maori health teaching and learning. We recommend a combination of immersed, integrated and independent teaching and learning approaches in order to promote high-quality outcomes.

This article looks at the role of medical education in preparing current and future doctors for the challenge of improving Maori health and eliminating health inequities. While acknowledging the need for all health professinoals to be able to work safely and effectively in a multicultural, global context; the focus here is explicitly on Maori health in Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

We outline the key components of a Maori health curriculum and suggest how these can be most effectively incorporated in health professional education, using examples from New Zealand’s undergraduate medical education programmes. Key issues are identified and recommendations for advancing Maori health education are provided.