Wananga are recognised as tertiary institutions under section 162 of the Education Act 1989.  As such, wananga are regarded as the peers of universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. Under the Act:

A wananga is characterised by teaching and research that maintains, advances, and disseminates knowledge and develops intellectual independence, and assists the application of knowledge regarding ahuatanga Maori (Maori tradition) according to tikanga Maori (Maori custom).

There are currently three wananga recognised under the Act.  Te Wananga o Raukawa, Te Wananga o Aotearoa and Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.

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