Principal Investigators

Our people

Professor Derek Kawiti

Professor 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 is a Professor of Architecture specialising in Māori Designed Environments and the application of contemporary manufacturing technologies in architecture. An expert and teacher in advanced digital tools (generative software) and robotics, he heads SITUA (Site of Indigenous Technologies Understanding Alliance), Indigenous Material Domains (IMD) and Corporate Spheres ‐ Indigenous Workspaces, all Masters level research labs. The labs play a significant role in the ‘re‐indigenising’ of architectural knowledge through a renewed exploration of customary methods of spatial organisation (tikanga/kawa), engineered structures, Māori geometries and materials utilising
computation and digital fabrication. Derek is also a Principal Investigator for the MacDiarmid Institute and is a researcher with the Robinson Space Program.

As an architectural practitioner Derek is a director of interdisciplinary architectural design firm, CILOARC, and is an associate director at Peddle Thorp Architects in Auckland where he is cultural and digital lead on a range of civic and government projects. He has more than 25 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. He has extensive experience as a cultural strategist and design advisor to major companies in the building industry and works with various architectural practices both locally and internationally on project bid

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

Professor 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.

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Annual Report

Hangi stones research to continue

March 30, 2021

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

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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.

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News Article

New Principal Investigators

August 27, 2018

The MacDiarmid Institute proudly welcomes eight new principal investigators.

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Re-aligning materials with cultural complexity

June 23, 2019

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

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