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Promoting awareness of Māori cultural values

Published: 27 March 2018

A new training programme is helping planners, architects and engineering professionals to be more culturally responsive to Māori perspectives and values when designing living spaces and their surroundings. 

Te Whaihanga: Preparing students to work with Māori, is a collaboration between four tertiary institutions – the universities of Auckland and Victoria, Auckland University of Technology and Unitec Institute of Technology – and supported by Auckland Council.

Teaching resources specially for students of accredited programmes in planning, architecture and engineering have been developed to ensure future generations of professionals involved in the design of built areas are better prepared to work with Māori professionals, iwi, and papakāinga developers.  

“We strongly support this initiative and will be taking some of our own built environment people – planners, development engineers, inspectors – through the training modules this year,” says Penny Pirrit, the council’s director of regulatory services.

“The programme has recognised an industry gap in understanding the Māori worldview. By being more culturally mindful of Māori traditions and conventions our industry professionals will be more at ease engaging and building ongoing relationships with Māori,” says Penny Pirrit.  

The approach also fits well with council’s policies on diversity and inclusion and Māori responsiveness, and an Auckland Plan 2050 focus to advance Māori wellbeing.