Preparing architects, planners and engineers to work with Māori

22 March 2016
Ako Aotearoa team photo
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A two-year project has been launched at the University of Auckland called Te Whaihanga: Preparing students to work with Māori, in collaboration with AKO Aotearoa through a national project award.

Building on seed funding from the University of Auckland’s Te Whare Kura initiative, the project aims to develop a range of teaching resources specifically for students studying professionally accredited programmes in planning, architecture and engineering.

The project will ensure that future generations of built environment professionals are better prepared to work with Māori professionals, iwi representatives and community and papakāinga developers in their day-to-day work.

Students from within the built environment field have been chosen because they shape the future spaces and places in which communities live.

Te Whaihanga: Preparing students to work with Māori involves academics from four tertiary institutions; the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, Auckland University of Technology and Unitec Institute of Technology.

Supported by industry leaders, the initiative has been driven by research that indicates there is a lack of relevant material.

Stage one of the project will involve a group of Māori specialists setting out the necessity for graduates in the built environment professions to be better equipped for the work environment in Aotearoa New Zealand.

A reference group made up of prominent industry professionals will then help identify the kinds of situations where  professionals need to be better prepared.

It is envisaged the new teaching resources will ultimately be incorporated into teaching programmes for all first to third-year students.

The project has received $150,000 from AKO Aotearoa and will involve matched funding in kind from the academic partners.

Project lead Professor Dory Reeves from the University of Auckland said “The launch demonstrated the depth and breadth of expertise Te Whaihanga has been able to draw together and we are all looking forward to working together over the next two years.”  

Core Project Team

  • Professor Dory Reeves (Project Contact Leader), University of Auckland
  • Professor John Tookey, Auckland University of Technology
  • Senior Lecturer Derek Renata Kawiti, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Barbara Kensington-Miller, University of Auckland
  • Lecturer Rau Hoskins, Unitec Institute of Technology and Ngā Aho
  • Lecturer Lena Henry, University of Auckland and Ngā Aho
  • Dr Te Kipa Kepa Morgan, University of Auckland
  • Professor Andrew Barrie, University of Auckland
  • Professor Alison Phipps, Glasgow University

Project reference group

  • New Zealand Planning Institute
  • The New Zealand Institute of Architects
  • Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand
  • Auckland Council
  • Landcare Research / Manaaki Whenua
  • Te Hana Te Ao Marama

Image: Members of the partner institutions and collaborating industry partners at the launch.
Left to right: Dr Marion Blumenstein, Dr Te Kipa Kepa Morgan, Associate Professor Julia Gatley, Dr Barbara Kensington Miller, Dr Vincent Malcolm Buchanan, Penny Pirrit, Dr Rhonda Thompson, Professor Dory Reeves, Professor Andrew Barrie, Dr Joseph Te Rito, Lecturer Lena Henry, Folko Boermans, Dr Susan Carter, Helen Te Hira, Lecturer Rau Hoskins, Lecturer Lara Tookey, Professor John Tookey, Daniel Haines. 
Image credit: Jade Bosman  


Miranda Playfair, Media Relations Adviser