Student Charrette

Shared Landscapes Charrette

Registration has now closed for the IFLA World Congress Student Charrette being held in Auckland, New Zealand, on the 7th, 8th and 9th of April 2013. Please email any queries to

An interesting real project, a Maori client, a real opportunity to see aspects of culture few other people see and to share wisdom from across indigenous and global cultures; and a terrific lead into the IFLA World Congress which starts on the evening of the 9th April.

Neil Challenger,
Charrette Leader
Lincoln University

UNITEC Campus Plan - view here             UNITEC Mt Albert & Auckland Central - view here


Previous Student Charrettes

Kuala Lumpur 2007:

Attendees – students and attendees at the IFLA Charrette in Kuala Lumpur, a diverse group with students from China, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and Thailand.


Kuala Lumpur Bamboo Dance – Most Charrettes involve site design, in Taiwan the Charrette focused on transport and in Singapore it was an abandoned quarry; in Kuala Lumpur, however, the students undertook a landart project. In Auckland in 2013 we will again be doing a site design, this time working with the local indigenous tribe – the Ngati Whatua ki Orakei.

Taiwan 2004:

Model making – in Taiwan the students had to make models to tell their story – a very helpful way to overcome language difficulties.


Taiwan students at work – drawing helps too!

Singapore 2001:

Studio work – at the Singapore Charrette the students, who were from 13 different countries, were mixed up into multicultural teams to do their design work. Twelve years later the members of these teams still keep in contact and even occasionally work together in their professional lives.

Auckland 2013 Student Charrette

Te Noho Kotahitanga

On the first night of the Charrette we will be accommodated on the UNITEC marae Te Noho Kotahitanga (meaning ‘sitting in unity’), a beautiful Maori meeting house where students will be welcomed, housed and fed.


The Charrette’s hard work will be carried out in the UNITEC design studios; (for more information on the Marae click here.


The carved sterns of Maori canoes (called taurapa in Maori); the design site is a traditional landing site for Maori voyaging canoe.

Waka ama

The site the Charrette will be working on will also be used by out-rigger canoes (waka ama), welcomes, entertainment and interpretation.

The Charrette will be carried out with Ngati Whatua ki Orakei (the local Maori tribe) and is set in Okahu Bay on Auckland harbour. Traditionally the site was home to the tribe and a site where sea going canoes landed. Now it houses a community park, a church and cemetery and a large slipway. This project is about reasserting Ngati Whatua values on the site. Once again making it a site where seagoing canoes can land and be stored and where outrigger canoes can be based. Making it a place where welcomes can be held, people can be hosted and where the tribe’s history can be explained. But it is more than cultural. At the same time Ngati Whatua want to restore the area’s ecosystem and to address the problem of pollution being discharged into the sea.

In other words the project is about the land and the sea, about culture and nature and for this key open space close to downtown Auckland about find ways to share understandings and knowledge to make a new sustainable landscape future.


Student Charette

The Charrette is a real project, exploring the design of a Maori waka/canoe landing site with moorings, interpretation, accommodation and hosting facilities for voyagers. Until the 1950s the site was home to a Ngati Whatua community – the customary Maori owners of Auckland – and Ngati Whatua are the project’s clients. This conjures up images of Pacific voyages by ocean going canoes, navigation by the stars and ocean currents, and the interface between the land and the sea. This is a combination that is uniquely South Pacific and New Zealand; but at the same time the project’s emphasis on cultural expression and the requirement for cultural integrity has a global relevance that reaches far beyond New Zealand’s shores.

The Charette will work out of UNITEC’s Landscape Architectural Studios, and the first night’s accommodation will be at UNITEC’s beautiful Maori meeting house (Te Noho Kotahitanga1) – giving participants an experience no one else at the IFLA World Congress will have. The Charrette starts at 12:00 noon on Sunday 7th with a welcome and the site visit, and after a day and a half of undoubtedly intense design activity, it will conclude with a presentation to the client on the afternoon of Tuesday 9th. The registration cost for the Charrette is NZ$50 which includes transport for the site visit, accommodation on the 7th of April and most meals.

The IFLA World Congress immediately follows the Charrette, with the welcome event on the evening of the 9th; key note presentations and field tours on the 10th; and presentations on the 11th and 12th. Registration cost for students attending the Congress is a very reasonable NZ$150 (although the welcome event and site visits are additional to this).

We hope you will consider attending the Charrette and World Congress. Most students who attend the Charrettes run in association with the IFLA World Congresses view them as a highlight of their studies and I am sure that this one will be no different. It’s an exciting and relevant site that will give participants a truly special experience, and it is of course followed by the World Congress which promises to be interesting, an excellent learning opportunity and a lot of fun in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

We hope to meet you and some of your students at IFLA50 in Auckland next year.

Neil Challenger
Charrette Convenor and Senior Lecturer            

Renee Lambert
Conference Chair