Co-designing with rangatahi and community through an integrated Te Ao Māori lens

The project is considered a first in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) – possibly Aotearoa, as it was a collaborative design process between industry (Waitākere Ranges Local Board – Auckland Council, Community Waitākere, Boffa Miskell); tertiary education (Unitec); and kura kaupapa (Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae – TKKMoHWM) exploring cultural park features through co-design whilst aligning with NCEA Standards Level 2 – Design in Context.

Boffa Miskell were asked by Waitākere Ranges Local Board – Auckland Council, and Community Waitākere to run a programme with rangatahi Māori at TKKMoHWM exploring cultural park features through design (architecture, landscape architecture). As part of the Waitākere Local Boards plans, engaging rangatahi within their local area was highlighted as being a key opportunity.



Worked with

Community Waitākere
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae

Project date


Due to the project’s innovation, Boffa Miskell sought the help of Unitec to help develop a programme in full Te Reo Māori as well as its alignment with an NCEA accredited course for rangatahi to benefit from their works. During term 2 Boffa Miskell, Unitec, TKKMoHWM and Local Board worked together to develop a 10-week programme for term 3 creating a programme which explored: understanding site (visiting sites and understanding contexts), exploring pūrākau through design (exploring stories and exploring tools – drawings, painting, photography), implementing design in context. The development of this NCEA Level 2 – Design in Context was a challenge as there has been no specific Māori approach to this course.

A total of ten rangatahi took this course in which landscape architects, kaiako Māori and rangatahi worked collaboratively – kānohi ki te kānohi (face to face) exploring solutions for cultural park features for their local park. Through the programmes phases, rangatahi got the opportunity to understand the design environments, how sites works, how to design in context and explore their creativity in a kaupapa Māori environment.

Through the programme all rangatahi achieved a full design package of cultural park features which were presented to the wider industry, community and local board where all passed with achieved, merit and excellence. As a result, local board are exploring the future opportunity to develop these designs for their local parks.

A detailed report was produced for the local board capturing the programme and the opportunities which can be sought from such an innovative project. The report highlighted background aims from councils, the process of the programme and the works of the rangatahi involved.

The programme highlights community resiliency and champions rangatahi involvement through redesigning their futures. The programme also allowed rangatahi the opportunity to understand and consider areas of design and planning (architecture, landscape architecture, design, arts, planning and kaitiakitanga).

The project ran across a 10-week programme and was delivered in full Te Reo Māori making it a first of its kind. The project champions Māori representation within and across industry, tertiary and secondary – kura kaupapa, therefore, providing a roots-based approach to designed environments.

Our team lead, produced and provided a kaupapa Māori programme for rangatahi to explore through design opportunities for features in their local park.