New Zealand team create welcoming space for Expo 2020 Dubai

21 January 2019
  • Jasmax


United Arab Emirates

Maori culture inspires pavilion design

The New Zealand Expo 2020 team have based their exhibit on the overall event theme selected by the UAE authorities and the Ruler of Dubai, which is summed up by the slogan ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. As well as showcasing innovations from New Zealand, the team also wanted to demonstrate the value in bringing people from all nations together. Located in the sustainability district, the pavilion will tell the story of New Zealand’s kaitiakitanga, a Maori term for guardianship and the kinship between humans and nature, translated as ‘our care for people and place’.

The design team, led by Jasmax Architects, was selected by a 10-person specialist evaluation panel and appointed by the New Zealand at Expo 2020 Steering Group, following a call for participants that can be viewed on the TenderStream archive here. Jasmax created a central concept inspired by receptacles called waka taonga, which were made by the Maori to safeguard items of intrinsic value. These intricately carved containers included cultural symbols for protection, together with signs for the maintenance of shared values and practices. They were used as gifts to strengthen relationships, create new partnerships and maintain traditions and stories from one generation to the next.

The team describes the resulting 2000 sq m pavilion as ‘a gift to the world’, that goes beyond the expected exhibition space to include a restaurant, design store and hosting facilities. Clayton Kimpton, New Zealand’s Commissioner-General for the Expo, stated: “Expo 2020 will allow us to demonstrate New Zealand’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, through a lens of kaitiakitanga, to a global audience of millions.”

The national government has committed NZ$53m to design, construct, operate and promote the country’s presence at Expo 2020.

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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