AUT’s newest building blessed and named

24 Jun, 2024
AUT’s newest building blessed and named

In the early hours of Friday 21 June, AUT’s newest building was blessed and named. Until now the building has been known as A1. The blessing led by Ngāti Paoa at dawn saw the name ‘Tukutuku’ announced and gifted to AUT by Ngāti Paoa for the building.

Taken from the name of the matriarch of Ngāti Paoa, Tukutuku is also the lattice work of tukutuku panels, weaving together people, place and shared purpose.

Tukutuku, at around 9000m2, is the largest development at the University’s North Campus. The building will house the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, and will accommodate around 2000 students and 200 staff. It is also AUT’s most sustainable building yet and on track to be the country’s most efficiently heated and cooled tertiary education building.

AUT has collaborated closely with Ngāti Paoa and contemporary urban artist Janine Williams to co-design the cultural spatial framework plan for the building which applies a narrative lens from an iwi perspective over the planning of the spaces.

Janine says that the narrative theme underpinning the spatial framework plan is the idea of the waka hourua, the double-hulled waka. “The two different hulls of the waka work together in one journey, and this is symbolic of that partnership between the mana whenua and the university.”

“Traditionally, there is a sheltering, housing structure that sits at the centre of the waka. In the same way, Tukutuku, as the heart of the campus, becomes a place of shelter, protection and gathering, and it’s all about the relational value that comes from that. It is a place that is protective and inclusive. You grow your relationships, you eat food there, you celebrate the important things and that’s what Tukutuku will provide.”

Janine has also created three artworks for the building, alongside descendants of her iwi, including a large digital mural featuring kuaka, a representation of the iwi’s journey and partnership with AUT to bring about mātauranga Māori and stories of the surrounding moana.

AUT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Damon Salesa, says the University is extremely fortunate to have been able to work with Ngāti Paoa and Janine on the space planning of the University’s new world-class building.

“Ngāti Paoa and Janine have helped us beautifully intertwine the story of our partnership with the new social and physical heart of our campus. Tukutuku demonstrates our unique contribution as both Aotearoa New Zealand’s university of technology and as a university of opportunity, weaving together the diverse strengths of our people, and our special place in the world.”

Tukutuku will be open for the start of AUT’s Semester Two in mid-July, and there will be an official opening ceremony on Friday 26 July.

Professor Damon Salesa and Janine Williams
Tukutuku blessing - AUT Senior Leadership
Ngāti Paoa