Whangārei Māori Land Court

Whangārei Māori Land Court provides a court service for owners of Māori land, their whānau and their hapū to promote the retention and use of Māori land and facilitate the occupation, development and use of that land. This project provided the Māori Land Court a new fit-for-purpose premise in the centre of Whangārei to enable this to occur. The new fitout needed to incorporate the bespoke requirements of the Ministry, Judiciary and Te Aranga Māori Design Principles. The end result is a bespoke public facility with significant carving, engraving, weaving and cast bronze building elements integrated into welcoming, safe and open plan staff and public spaces.

Too often public sector spaces are utilitarian and do not resonate with the land and the people around them, but not the Whangārei Māori Land Court.

The relocated, redesigned and refurbished space is firmly grounded in its place thanks to a strong brief and a collaborative design process with tangata whenua (people of the land).

Alongside the Ministry of Justice, project design and construction partners, RDT Pacific provided Project Management, Engineer to the Contract and Quantity Surveying services.

At the Design Institute NZ (DINZ) 2022 Best Design Awards, Whangārei Māori Land Court won Gold for Public and Institutional Space and Silver for Repurposed Space for architects GHD Woodhead creativespaces – Studio Pasifika.

Judges described it as “a highly crafted and sensitive response to a culturally significant space…deeply responsive to te ao Māori”.


  • 2022 Design Institute New Zealand Best Design Awards – Public and Institutional Space, Gold
  • 2022 Design Institute New Zealand Best Design Awards –  Repurposed Space, Silver

Explore more