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Creative thinking seeks to maximise Te Rūnaka o Kāti Waewae 'windfall'

POSTED: 19 January 2018

Lisa and Francois Tumahai, who head the Te Rūnaka o Kāti Waewae
Lisa and Francois Tumahai, who head Te Rūnaka o Kāti Waewae, field suggestions from a roundtable convened by Tuia Innovation about maximising opportunities for their 'windfall' stores of native timber.

One of the more memorable and enjoyable projects during 2017 involved our dear friends from Te Tai Poutini: Lisa and Francois Tumahai, who head the Te Rūnaka o Kāti Waewae based in Hokitika, the capital of pounamu.

This Māori Innovation-funded project focused on the Rūnaka’s unexpected 'windfall' after a major cyclone cut a swathe through some large tracts of native forest on the West Coast. Quickly enacted legislation allowed the fallen timber to be removed and processed, and as a result the Rūnaka was gifted as much cut wood as it could take.

It wasn’t long before every warehouse and store available was filled, and the question posed in the project was: how does Te Rūnaka o Kāti Waewae maximise the opportunities this 'windfall' presents?

We decided this required a brainstorming session involving some highly-creative thinkers so, courtesy of Tuia Innovation principal Nick Gerritson’s connections, we brought together design guru David Trubridge, Chris Kelly of the Architecture Workshop, and representatives from Jasmax and DNA for a half-day roundtable in Tuia’s boardroom.

Tuia Innovation was represented by Nick, Guy Royal and Alan Groves, with support from Tuia Group’s Juan Prado.

As Lisa commented: “It’s amazing how much creative talent was around the table.”

David Trubridge’s remarkable story of his “one-way” journey to Aotearoa, and the recent completion of his Redwood forest illumination project in Rotorua, set the tone for an inspiring hui that featured some dynamic korero and surfaced some truly brilliant ideas.

An important take-out for the gathering was David’s comment that design is just as important “if not more important” to small items, such as the presentation boxes for pounamu, as it is to large structures such as tree canopy walks and buildings.

One focus of discussion was the redevelopment of the tourist centre at Punakaiki, a renowned stop-off on the West Coast which is being overwhelmed by visitor numbers.

Our report back to Lisa and Francois suggested they push for the use of locally-sourced native wood in that development, and we also promoted the use of native wood in a series of eco-lodges at various strategic points along the emerging Kāti Waewae tourism trail. These ideas remain under consideration.

David Trubridge and Chris Kelly
Creative thinkers David Trubridge and Chris Kelly.
Guy Royal with Lisa and Francois
Guy Royal with Lisa and Francois.


Kāti Waewae roundtable
Ideas flow round the table.


Pounamu presentation box
Presentation box for pounamu.


Native wood utilisation project

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