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AUCKLAND | Welcome to Te Ao Māori with Johnson McKay

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Event description

Please note: at this stage this is the only 'Welcome to Te Ao Māori' workshop we will be running this year

Design Assembly, in partnership with Ira, is delighted to announce a 'Welcome to Te Ao Māori' Workshop at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae Unitec in Tāmaki Makaurau | Auckland on Thursday 22 June 2023.

This workshop is a full-day, immersive experience dedicated to developing cultural intelligence and creative solutions through a Te Ao Māori worldview. 

The only cultural workshop created specifically for those who work with brand, internal culture development and creative services, the workshop will support participants to engage with Tikanga Māori and understand how culture can be a superpower in designing uniquely Aotearoa brands and businesses, products and experiences.

Te Ao Māori is not just for Māori. It’s a way of seeing the world that can enrich all New Zealanders - culturally, socially, environmentally and economically.” 
Johnson McKay, Head of Strategy & Culture, Ira.

    This workshop was created by Johnson McKay and Sarai Morris of Ira – a Māori-led strategic and creative agency. Ira brings Te Ao Māori approaches to co-design inspirational brands, products, and experiences from diverse perspectives. 

    We no longer live in a one size fits all world. It takes cultural intelligence to bring diverse perspectives together to co-design transformative solutions.” 
    Sarai Morris, Cultural Strategy & Engagement, Ira  

    To find out more about the presenters click here

    There is also a second workshop called 'Redesigning Aotearoa' on the following day Friday 23 June 2023.
    To find out about the subsequent workshop 'Redesigning Aotearoa' on 23 June click here

    Tickets are strictly limited and will sell out fast, so book today to secure your place. 

    Welcome to Te Ao Māori | Outline of Workshop Programme

    Mā te rongo ka mōhio | By listening comes knowledge

    Mā te mōhio ka mārama | From knowledge comes understanding 

    Mā te mārama ka mātau | From understanding comes wisdom

    Mā te mātau ka ora ai | From wisdom comes life

    Mātauranga is knowledge. It is spiritual, scientific, cultural and creative experiences passed down inter-generationally. It informs the priorities in Te Ao Māori - the Māori world view and shapes Tikanga Māori - cultural process. 

    Our purpose for developing this workshop is to ensure that the principles and perspectives of Te Ao Māori continue to inspire the communities of Aotearoa. 

    The workshop is a safe space to gain cultural understanding and the support of experts to help embed your learning into how you deliver and design culturally authentic outcomes. 

    Participate in learning sessions, break-out group work and personalise the principles to suit your own context and needs. 

    Explore solutions to questions like: 

    • How do we define organisational strategy that aligns to Treaty commitments and aspirations to remove inequitable barriers to Māori self-determination?
    • How do we shape organisational culture to value Māori cultural values? 
    • How do we communicate brands, products and services in a way that engages Māori whānau and communities?
    • How do we represent Māori voices and values visually and in design, photography and video?

    Workshop Schedule:
    'Welcome to Te Ao Māori'

    8.15am | Arrive at the Marae

    8.30am | Pōwhiri | Welcome Ceremony

    Be welcomed onto Te Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec, Auckland in a pōwhiri and participate in whakawhanaungatanga - the art of building relationships. 

    Wahanga 1: Te Ao Māori | World View 

    Understand what informs a Māori cultural identity and world view. The importance of maintaining cultural, environmental and community balance through the principle of tapu and mana. 

    • Wairuatanga: The spiritual foundations for te ao Māori 
    • Tapu and Mana: Critical concepts that govern all aspects of te ao Māori
    • Tūranga: Community roles and responsibilities that shape how te ao Māori operates daily in Māori contexts. 

    Wahanga 2: Tikanga Māori - Cultural Processes 

    How does the Te ao Māori view inform Tikanga Māori - processes that bring diverse people together to co-design outcomes together? 

    • Pono, tika, aroha: three balancing factors in developing and applying Tikanga Māori
    • Specific Examples of Tikanga Māori 
      • Pōwhiri: gender based roles and are they changing 
      • Rāhui: restoring environments and people 
      • Mātauranga: protecting and valuing knowledge in a digital era 
      • Hohou Te Rongo: inclusive practises to resolve disputes 
      • Tangihanga - death and transition into the next life 
      • Matariki - environmental and community balance 

    Wahanga 3: Evolving Tikanga 

    How is Tikanga Māori changing? What are the positive and negative influences on that change? How can we support an indigenous culture to be revived to retain its unique way of seeing the world?

    • Balancing individual liberties and collective responsibility 
    • Gender identity and cultural roles within te ao Māori
    • Evolving use of te reo Māori and how knowledge is shared 
    • Cross cultural collaboration for new and exciting outcomes 


    4.30pm - Closing karakia and waiata to settle the learning before going home for the day

    To secure your tickets for 'Welcome to Te Ao Māori' on 22 June please click on GET TICKETS above

    To find out about the subsequent workshop 'Redesigning Aotearoa' on 23 June click here

    Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions by emailing

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    Refund policy

    Refunds are available up to 21 days prior to event. No refunds will be given within 7 days prior to the event. Please get in touch to transfer your ticket if required. Your ticket may be transferred to another Design Assembly event within one year of purchase if you cannot attend the event.