ministry for culture and heritage

the brief

As part of their building re-design Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage worked with ngā pou Māori me ngā pou Pūkenga (advisors and experts) to develop a meaningful Māori narrative and incorporate it seamlessly throughout the fitout.
“Having Māori designs, graphics and narratives integrated into this historical building acknowledges our past and signals our future as we continue to uphold and champion culture and heritage in Aotearoa-New Zealand”
Mike Nathan, Pou Mataaho, Te Pae Huarewa, Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

the concept

The Ministry is in the historic Public Trust building and our designs had to modernize collaboration spaces within the limitations of the building structure. Staff and stakeholders worked to develop language and a Māori narrative that layers cultural values and principles into all elements of the working environment. This led to a re-imagination of the Ministry and its component parts as a wharenui (meeting house). The whare concept recognises that every individual has a key role as a pou (pillar) which helps their wharenui to stand and function, and allows staff to think about their workspace differently. Even working remotely or away from the Public Trust Building, they are still a pou, an integral part, of their whare.

what we did

We worked with Ministry change champions and ngā pou Māori (advisors) to examine what it means to be part of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and we explored room planning, furniture concepts and the redevelopment of meeting spaces. We reconfigured the desking to increase capacity for growth, improved circulation and split noisy functions, such as the kitchen and breakout area, from quiet ones. Alongside ngā Pou Māori (cultural advisors) we collaborated with ngā Pūkenga Māori (Māori experts) to develop a narrative and aesthetic for the revitalised office space.

the results

The new fitout represents a strong Māori narrative intended to be genuine and authentic. Like other “whare” located on marae through-out Aotearoa the designs, graphics and narratives are grounded in Māori mythology including the kōrero pertaining to Ranginui and Papatūānuku (sky father-earth mother). At the entrance is Tāne, Māori god of the forest and birds. He stands at the doorway, welcoming visitors as kaitiaki or guardian of Te Whare o Te Manatū Taonga.

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