Māui is remembered in Māori narrative as a change maker, a challenger of boundaries and a trickster. However, in the 21st century these characteristics are likely to be frowned upon rather than celebrated in Aotearoa New Zealand’s education system. Māori students experiencing complex needs, like Māui, are known for pushing the boundaries. Rather than signalling strength of character, these characteristics are frequently viewed as deficits.
With vocation level programmes of the tertiary sector in Aotearoa New Zealand entering a new era of strategic visioning, one of the aims for educators is to seek ways to improve the educational engagement and success of Māori learners. Revitalising Māori teaching and learning pedagogies, like the tuakana–teina pedagogy, has been touted as a positive strategy for educators to achieve such interactions with their Māori learners. In doing so, we are prompted to remember the deeds of magical Māui, the teina of the Māui brothers of ancient Māori mythology.