Te Wao Nui

Auckland Zoo Interpretation, 2011

Design and project management of a new precinct within the Auckland Zoo focusing on New Zealand native species.

Motherworks were chosen to design and document the interpretive components within the overall  precinct designed by Logan Brewer* MBE who had spent many years working on various iterations and stages of the project. Motherworks was charged with designing and integrating the interpretive work, steering it toward documentation, construction and an opening date around twelve months later.

Our team included Dr. Toni Roberts, now lecturing at RMIT university and heading Hatchling Studios on strategic planning and interpretive design, David Gargiulo our wizard in all things digital including 3D, CAAD and industrial design and Dianna Wells heading up the graphic design. 

The design scope included negotiating initial contact and liaison with renowned artists Bernard Makaore (of Te Raeawa and Ngati Whatua), Lyonel Grant (of Te Arawa),  and Manos Nathan (of Te Roroa, Ngati Whatua and Nga Puhi) who collectively spearheaded the team of artists called TuWao. The artworks which were developed by TuWao underpinned the storylines and featured heavily in the graphic content and the overall experience of Te Wao Nui. The journey starts at the coast and winds through a number of precincts including the great forest, high country, island sanctuaries, wetlands and nocturnal zones that all feature indigenous species. 

Auckland Zoo's curator of horticulture, Hugo Baynes, won Landscaping New Zealand's supreme award in the 2012 Landscapes of Distinction Awards for the NZ precinct, Te Wao Nui - the Zoo's largest ever project.

*Logan Brewer MBE sadly passed away in 2012 . We will all miss his truly collaborative and engaging approach, his wit, insights and broad ranging expertise.

Many thanks to Ponch Hawkes for the photography.