David Hakaraia

David Hakaraia profile picture

Programme Director First Year Design School of Design


Teaching in 2019


Bachelor of industrial design (Victoria University)

Masters of industrial design (Victoria University)

Research interests & methods

David’s research looks at how Māori traditions and narratives can be used to express and develop a contemporary Māori visual language. Within these studies he has incorporated both traditional and modern digital fabrication techniques to express more culturally appropriate design solutions that acknowledge mātauranga Māori. He is interested in the narratives that express his Māori heritage. These stories have captured his imagination and he relishes the expression of them in ways that depart from traditional style and enable a design approach that is distinctly his own.


David’s teaching philosophy aims to create a unique, whanaungatanga learning environment which emphasises cultural inclusiveness, respect, communication and transparency. I believe education should be a reciprocal relationship. Within Te Ao Māori, this concept is called Ako which means to both teach and to learn. Ako identifies the knowledge that teachers and learners (this could be students, staff and professional peers) exchange and recognises the way that this new knowledge can be developed from these shared learning experiences. I believe we have a responsibility to our students to not only teach the relevant topics and technology of our time, but to also look to our pre-colonial past and to our Indigenous technologies. This is imperative, to facilitate the formation of a culturally autonomous visual design language that is acknowledged and respected on a global scale while having the potential to be commercially viable. By the same token, we may expect our students to engage with these topics by contributing their own views and interpretations. The goal is to not only build confidence in our Māori and Pacific students but to also be inclusive and encourage other students from different ethnicities to gain from the rich tapestry of indigenous cultures that make up New Zealand and the Pacific region. My aim is to contribute to the construction of a distinctive design education that allows the student to develop both an inward and outwardly facing appreciation of cultural heritage.


Teaching in 2019