Te Whanau o Tupuranga

Completion date
Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design

Te Whanau o Tupuranga is a bi-lingual school that caters for students from year 7 to 13. Its special character is whanau-based, Maori-centred education, utilising new teaching styles that incorporate flexible spaces and open plan learning with integrated technology. The new school was integrated into an existing school site, which housed a middle school.

The project involved the construction of an administration building, library, gymnasium and teaching block. Significant refurbishment and additions were also undertaken on the whare nui, whare kai, hall, music and art rooms. In an effort to retain the history and integrity of the original Tupuranga teaching block, the structure was incorporated into the new design.

The underlying design of the new school acknowledges Maori as Tangata Whenua. Whilst the buildings are unashamedly modern, the planning principles are concerned with creating a whanau-based atmosphere and ethos.

Traditional Maori colours of red and black were used throughout the interior and exterior of the buildings. Expression of Maori imagery was also achieved through the modulation of materials.

Crucial in connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces and integrating the new buildings with the existing, a key focus of the landscape design was to create an environment that fosters a sense of ownership and engenders pride in its students, staff and local community.

The approach was to extend the learning environment into the landscape by providing a range of flexible, multi-use external spaces. These include covered and uncovered courtyards, plaza spaces and terraced steps which are interwoven with native gardens.

The paving design reflects references to Maori fibre arts, traditional Waka navigation by the sun and stars and connection with rivers and the sea. The landscape architecture design team worked closely with the school to incorporate rich cultural themes into the design. The school provided particular patterns for feature paving areas which were ‘woven’ together in such a way that a different theme becomes prominent in each key space throughout the school's landscape.


  • 2009 NZIA Local Architecture Award for Public Architecture
  • 2010 NZILA Gold Award (Landscape)
  • 2010 NZILA Resene Award of Excellence

Other team members

Roy Blok Associate Principal - Registered Architect Auckland
Phone09 366 9626 Save Contact
Hamish Boyd Principal Auckland
Phone+64 9 366 9625 Mobile+64 21 799 303 Save Contact
Joseph Muir Senior Landscape Architect - Senior Associate Auckland
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