Principal Investigators » The MacDiarmid Institute
Principal Investigators

Our people

Derek Kawiti

Derek Kawiti

Principal Investigator

Mātauranga Māori Research Programme

+64 4 463 6057

Victoria University of Wellington
Room 3.09
139 Vivian Street
Te Aro Campus


Derek has a dual background as an academic at the Victoria University of Wellington - where he holds a Senior Lectureship, and as an architectural practitioner as director of a multidisciplinary practice - CILOARC.

Derek holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Auckland and a Masters of Architecture from the Architectural Association - Design Research Lab in London. He has more than 14 years’ experience in both commercial and domestic scale architecture having worked in both New Zealand and international practice environments including London, the Caribbean and Italy.

With a background in advanced parametric design methods, he is heavily involved in generative digital modelling, digital heritage and ‘low’ and ‘high’ tech’ digital fabrication with which he founded the collaborative research lab – SITUA (Site of Indigenous Technologies Understanding Alliance) with Iwi, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri - of Muriwai, Gisborne and more recently with New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute of Te Puia, Rotorua.

Derek also works as a cultural design advisor for Fletcher Building Ltd and is a trustee for the Miramar Bid (Business Investment Development). He has worked with Auckland Transport on their New Electric Rail Station Design and has advised architectural practices such as JASMAX, Warren and Mahony on various project bid cultural design strategy. In 2017 he was appointed as an Associate to the Senior Management Team at Peddle Thorp Architects, in Auckland.

Much of my research is concerned with understanding the implications of digital technologies in the convergence with Indigenous traditional knowledge.

Derek Kawiti

In the news

Annual Report

Te Ahi Tupua

March 30, 2021

The largest 3D printed sculpture in the world, collaboratively designed by Derek Kawiti and Māori Customary Artist Stacy Gordine.

Read more about Te Ahi Tupua

Annual Report

Hangi stones research to continue

March 30, 2021

Research on hangi stones and to develop this into resources for schools continues.

Read more about Hangi stones research to continue

Annual Report

New Principal Investigators - Annual Report 2018

April 8, 2019

An overview of the research interests of each of our eight new Principal Investigators.

Read more about New Principal Investigators - Annual Report 2018

News Article

New Principal Investigators

August 27, 2018

The MacDiarmid Institute proudly welcomes eight new principal investigators.

Read more about New Principal Investigators


Re-aligning materials with cultural complexity

June 23, 2019

Derek Kawiti discusses his work exploring Māori artefacts using modern digital tools.

Read more about Re-aligning materials with cultural complexity