Unitec’s award-winning Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae is an inspiring place for enquiring minds to meet. A focal point for the institute’s three Auckland campuses, it honours and upholds Māori traditions and offers a modern, welcoming environment for students, staff and visitors alike.

Combining low-impact, sustainable design and construction, with locally sourced materials, the marae development seamlessly blends traditional architecture and contemporary environmental sensibilities.

The striking wharenui, Te Ngākau Māhaki, is the centrepiece of the marae. Located at the heart of the Mt Albert campus, it is an inclusive meeting place for all cultures and a teaching and learning hub. Functioning as a place for ceremonial and celebratory gatherings of worship, it also stands a repository of local and historical knowledge.

The wharenui, Te Ngākau Māhaki, has been described by prominent architectural academics as a “South Pacific Sistine Chapel.” Its orientation towards arriving visitors ensures that Unitec presents itself as a tertiary institution that places significant value on the central role of Māori culture and knowledge systems. A showcase for new design concepts and traditional techniques, it is used by all Unitec staff and students.

The wharekai “Manaaki” completes the building development. The 200-seat capacity dining room and state-of-the-art kitchen fills the need for the marae to host visitors in the proper manner. The concept is of a bird-headed Manaia (mythical creature) reclining on the land — a communicator between the spirit world and the earthly world and a guardian against evil.

Our team is proud to have helped deliver Unitec’s vision by providing Programme and Cost Consultancy services on this special project.

Rider Levett Bucknall Property Council Awards 2013: Best in Category Winner – Warren and Mahoney Special Purpose Property Award