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AWMM @ Designers Inst NZ 2021 Best Awards

The award-winning redevelopment of Te Ao Mārama in the Public & Institutional Spaces category.

Press Release: Auckland Museum Wins At Designers Institute Of New Zealand 2021 Best Awards, Auckland Museum, 19 February 2022

Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum was shortlisted for ten Best Awards at last night’s virtual Best Awards 2021 event, winning a total of three in the Public & Institutional Spaces, Exhibition & Temporary Structures and Environment graphics categories.

In 2021 Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum completed a series of major transformations to its visitor experience. After being closed for approximately 18 months, Auckland Museum’s South Atrium entry precinct Te Ao Mārama re-opened to the public with new experiences, amenities, artworks, food and retail offerings.

This revitalised space revealed the most significant changes to the Museum in more than a decade, and the vision was realised by Jasmax with FJMT, designTRIBE, and Salmond Reed Architects. The new spaces and the artworks housed within them were recognized in many different categories:

  • the redevelopment of Te Ao Mārama was a finalist in the Public & Institutional Spaces;
  • Hokohoko, the Museum’s retail cultural destination designed by Ignite Architects, was a finalist for Spatial Retail Environments;
  • Under the tanoa in Te Ao Mārama was a finalist in Exhibition & Temporary Structures; and
  • Te Tatau Kaitiaki was shortlisted in three categories Environment graphics, Spatial Exhibition & Temporary Structures and Toitanga.

Situated within Te Ao Mārama, Under the Tanoa is a looping animated audio-visual experience that shares the arrival of the three Mana Whenua iwi that make up the Museum’s Taumata-ā-Iwi. This experience contains the stories of Ngāti Whātua Orākei, Ngāti Paoa and Waikato Tainui, told by iwi, complete with rich soundscapes, waiata and animated visuals. It was created alongside iwi by the team at Creature Post.

In the entrance to Te Ao Mārama, artist Graham Tipene has created a tomokanga, a pōwhiri threshold and gateway. Te Tatau Kaitiaki (The Guardians’ Gateway) has been incised into two doors attached to the pillars that the visitor moves through as they enter and exit the space. The doors play a ceremonial role as part of the tikanga of the space, and depict two female figures, embodying the traditional voice of karanga or welcome.

Along with the significant changes to Te Ao Mārama, Kahu Tāmaki was a finalist in two categories Large Brand Identity/Cultural and Toitanga. Kahu Tāmaki, the wardrobe project designed by Nichola Te Kiri, revamped the Museum’s front-of-house Visitor Host uniforms to allow them to feel more connected to their workplace.

Previously Te Ao Mārama won awards at the Auckland and national NZIA Architecture Awards in three categories – Public Architecture and Heritage, and Hospitality. This new public precinct has now been recognised by the Best Awards winning the Public & Institutional Spaces catergory.

Auckland Museum was also a finalist twice in the Digital Installation & Exhibition category for the digital interactives in Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland. Opened in 2021, Tāmaki Herenga Waka is a new permanent gallery that chronicles Auckland’s past and present and looks to the future. The two digital installations were Kei konei koe You are here created with Toybox, and Raurau Mai Living City created with OOM Creative.

Auckland Museum, a finalist in a total of ten categories, last night took home the Best Awards for:
• the redevelopment of Te Ao Mārama for the Public & Institutional Spaces category;
• Te Tatau Kaitiaki for both Exhibition & Temporary Structures and Environment graphics.

“To win these prestigious Best Award categories is an exceptionally proud moment for Auckland War Memorial Museum,” says Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive of Auckland Museum. “To have the Museum’s transformation recognised by these awards truly celebrates our place in the culture and cultures of 21st-century Tāmaki, Aotearoa and the Pacific.”

“The Public & Institutional Spaces award recognise the achievement of Te Ao Mārama to respect the Museum’s value, while integrating bicultural concepts that deepen engagement with the Museum’s collections and stories,” says Gaimster. “The South Atrium has been given greater cultural dignity, transforming it into a generous public precinct where all visitors are welcomed with manaakitanga.”

The New Zealand Design Institute Best Awards were established in the mid-1970s to celebrate New Zealand’s best graphic design. The New Zealand Best Design Awards has enabled a growing community to benefit from the experience of a jury of international peers.

The redevelopment of Te Ao Mārama and creation of Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland were supported by public funding from Auckland ratepayers via Auckland Council, as well as a number of Trusts, foundations and individual donors. These awards are a testament to all who contributed to the redevelopment of the Te Ao Mārama South Atrium precinct.