New Zealand

2019 Travelling Studio Tuhoe, New Zealand

Studio Leaders: Professor Gini Lee and Dr Tanja Beer (MSD)

in collaboration with the School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington and Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, New Zealand


This studio brings together students of the University of Melbourne (Melbourne School of Design, Office of Environmental Programs) and the University of Victoria Wellington (School of Architecture) to explore indigenous knowledge systems (specifically, that of the Tūhoe tribe) and their capacity to inform and inspire new design processes. The studio will explore how cross-cultural knowledge systems can deliver new approaches to regenerative development, including understanding how Tūhoe perspectives of place and kinship can offer new approaches to our global-local environmental challenges. This is a critical question for considering the decolonisation of our practices as designers and one that begins to question the political process and internalisation of colonialist mindsets and ‘norms’ for the co-creation of our thriving future.

The Tūhoe traditional homeland Te Urewera, situated in the eastern North Island of New Zealand, is a densely forested mountain area with fertile river plains to the north and west, and pristine lakes to the south.  Te Urewera is an entity which has been granted legal personhood, holding rights and responsibilities equivalent to a person. During your visit to this lush environment, you will have the unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Tūhoe history, language, culture and place. You will be hosted by local tribal communities to learn Tūhoe values and how this plays a major role across traditional and contemporary tribal life. This will include working with Tūhoe governance systems, community members and stakeholders to consider design proposals that engage with local opportunities. You will have the opportunity to respond to a number of proposed reinvigoration projects and community facilities within the villages (e.g. wellness centres, recycling and repurposing facilities, workshops, playgrounds and other recreation facilities, art galleries, Living Building Challenge home designs, village layouts, food production gardens, orchards and other landscaping).

Introduction Session


Applications close: 26 November 2018
Pre-Teaching Start Date 2 January 2019 
Teaching Start Date: 8 January 2019
Subject census date: 18 January 2019
Overseas travel dates:  28 January - 5 February 2019 
Teaching End Date: 15 February 2019 
Final submission/presentation: 20 February 2019
OH&S information session: To be confirmed

To Apply:

Applicants will be assessed and selected based on academic merit and a 500 word expression of interest.

To apply, go to EDSC Travelling Studios page at and click the ‘Travelling Studio Application Form’. Complete all mandatory fields and submit by 26 November 2018.

You may provisionally enrol in ABPL90410 Travelling Studio Tuhoe (New Zealand) via your Student portal on opening of re-enrolment.

You will be informed of the application outcome via your University of Melbourne email account.

Contact Handbook

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