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Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa appoints cultural design executive


Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa, the commercial arm of central Tāmaki mana whenua Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, today announced the appointment of Mei Hill as Cultural Design Executive to join the team to integrate design elements unique to the hapū into both current and future builds.

Formerly arts and design manager for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Maia, Mei has been involved in the arts community for many years and has an impressive background in cultural art.

Since establishing her own gallery, Pātiki Studio in 2016, Mei has worked as a commissioned artist across various projects for Te Manawa, Massey, Te Uru, Hobsonville and most recently a glass installation in Wynyard Quarter, which is due to be unveiled in September.

Taking on the newly formed role as Cultural Design Executive, Mei will work to ensure future building and site designs carry a strong Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei narrative across their whenua.

Grant Kemble, Acting Chief Executive for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa, says Mei is a welcomed appointment and her professional and personal knowledge of cultural design together with her relationship with the wider Ngāti Whātua iwi makes her the fitting choice for the role.

“Mei’s background within the Toi Māori industry, particularly her personal involvement as an artist herself and understanding of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, will be invaluable to the team and ensure each build features strong cultural design elements that tell stories unique to the hapū and reflect their mātāpono,” says Kemble.

Key to Mei’s role is to elevate Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei identity in the built environment across Tāmaki Makaurau and she says she is proud to be a part of this important mahi.

“Bringing whānau artists into the process – from concept to realisation – is a rewarding and fundamental part of integrating creative expression into development projects.

“I am privileged to be able to contribute to the artistic story telling of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and also excited to foster the talents of our whānau artists,” Mei says.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei identity and narratives inform the design process across all its developments, including the award-winning Kāinga Tuatahi, the soon to be constructed Kāinga Kaumātua, and most recently, the three-piece mural located in the Te Tōangaroa precinct.