Te Arawa Media Studio

The studio presents a different approach than traditional broadcast spaces, with the client desire for a studio environment that is open, engaging and welcoming – representing the Iwi’s heritage, shaped by narrative of the journey of the Te Arawa waka and its people from Hawaiki to New Zealand. DCA`s design was shaped by a subtle transition from public to private while exploiting the existing spatial constraints to incorporate key elements of the narrative.

It has been a privilege for us to be able to incorporate and celebrate aspects of the Te Arawa people’s rich heritage in the design of the broadcast studio. Elements of the design hinge on several key elements:

  • “Mai I Maketū ki Tongariro, Ko Te Arawa te waka” -”the prow of our Canoe is at Maketu, the hull is Rotorua and the Stern is Mt Tongariro”. The axis created by the alignment of the Te Arawa waka serves to define the primary orientation of the floor plan layout.
  • Te Korokoro o Te Parata – While at sea, Tamatekapua tried to seduce Ngātoro’s wife. In retribution Ngātoro threatened to destroy the canoe in Te Korokoro-o-te-Parata, (the whirlpool of Te Parata), but relented at the crew’s pleading. This defining moment in the Te Arawa journey is captured in the dynamic undulating vertical timber fins from the main entry point, representative of the whirlpool’s dramatic motion, while drawing the visitor towards the centre of the studio and simultaneously providing screening to the main office space.
  • The Te Arawa journey is inextricably linked to the ocean and the night sky, with the navigators of the waka using only the stars, moon, ocean swells and currents for guidance. The design captures the traditional navigation techniques and the importance of the ocean in the journey with a dark ‘night sky’ at the entry point to the space with acoustic and decorative timber pattern walls.
  • The importance of the connection to the ocean and final landfall is ultimately captured in the patterned wall panelling – in shades of blue and warm timber, where ocean meets earth. The dark sky combined with two-tone timber panels represents the transition from night to day and sky to land along the waka’s journey. The timber panels transition into two-tone acoustic panels and seating representing the ocean and landfall.
  • “Te Arawa Mangai Nui”, the Te Arawa people obtained this name not only for their loud voices, but also for the dominating way in which they endeavour to control conversation, or speech-making. The broadcast and production studios are designed to reach out to and engage with visitors to the site as they enter the space. The strong eyebrow detail paired with the brilliant karaka berry orange colour frames the recording/broadcast studios, leading the visitors’ eyes towards the studios at the heart of the space.

Size: 334m2
Client details: Pukeroa Oruawhata Group

ADNZ 2021 Awards: Commercial Fit Out – Regional Award Winner