Vā Moana research cluster members successful in their bid for a second Marsden Fund grant

Image: lalava by Filipe Tohi in the Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland.

We are delighted to announce that Albert L. Refiti (Vā Moana, AUT), Rau Hoskins (Unitec), Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul (Vā Moana, AUT), and Billie Lythberg (Vā Moana, U of Auckland) have been successful with another Marsden funding application: “Artefacts of relations – building in the Pacific.” Associate investigators outside Aotearoa are Jean-Daniel Tokainiua Devatine (Center for Crafts of French Polynesia) and Lilikalā Kame‘eleihiwa (University of Hawai‘i at Manoa). 


The project engages a comprehensive Moana-nui (Pacific Ocean region) perspective to identify and analyse principal elements in Pacific buildings that contribute to Tangata Whenua (Māori) and Tangata Moana (Pacific diaspora) peoples’ wellbeing. We will investigate the persistence of Pacific iconic forms in contemporary architecture and the maintenance of relationships through reciprocal action, identification, and long-term commitment to place. To that end, the team will gather historical data and living testimony about the relationships of these buildings with their communities. We aim to understand how building experts (tufuga/tohunga) dealt with the reciprocal relationships between human habitat and the environment, and what architecture as citizenship in the 21st century—and in Aotearoa in particular—can learn from them regarding resilient community-building.


The total funding is $838,000 over three years.

Image: lalava by Filipe Tohi in the Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland.

Centre for Design Research
Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa
School of Art and Design

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau,
Auckland University of Technology


Susan Hedges susan.hedges@aut.ac.nz
Mandy Smith mandy.smith@aut.ac.nz

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish images or illustrations with their papers in CDR; neither editors nor publishers of CDR accept responsibility for any author’s/authors’ failure to do so.

© Centre for Design Research, AUT University 2021