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News & Events | Kawepūrongo

About | Kaupapa

Designed environments are an important factor in people’s lives and contribute strongly to their ongoing health and wellbeing. Attention to wellbeing becomes more critical as people age or experience ill health and their wellbeing is threatened. 


As a bicultural country New Zealand is advantaged by the Māori values which take a holistic view and emphasize that the environment is central to wellbeing.

Our research seeks answers to these questions:

  1. How can the landscape be therapeutic and rehabilitative?

  2. What if a doctor could prescribe wellness using a therapeutic landscape?

  3. Can unobtrusive technology in a therapeutic environment help with early diagnosis?

  4. How could the richness of Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) enable this?


Research | Rangahau

Therapeutic designed environments are those spatial elements that interact with people physically, psychologically and spiritually to improve health and wellbeing.  The focus of this team is the development of evidence-based research to show how buildings, landscapes and technology can support medical and health related practices. 


The multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research team are grouped in three interconnected streams:

Currently active research projects focus on: Housing for highly dependent people; Indigenous healthcare and wellbeing practices (Rongoā Māori); Participatory and co-design methods; Social prescribing; Intergenerational play; Healthy urban environments; Accessible and inclusive design; Outdoor social support networks; New technologies (embedded sensors and objects, augmented and virtual reality, apps for enabled access and new methods of investigation).

  1. Architecture and Landscape Architecture | Hoahoanga me te Hangahanga-Whenua

  2. Medical, Healthcare and Public Health Promotion | Rongoā me te Hauora

  3. Technology and Industrial Design | Hangarau me te Ahumahi-Hoahoa

At VUW, Summer Research scholarships offer a unique opportunity for external organizations, academics and students to work together in research. Our research team supervises a variety of projects many of which work across disciplines.


Team | Rōpū

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Jacqueline McIntosh

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Herenga Waka

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Public Health Promotion​

Melody Smith

The University of Auckland | Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau


Rehabilitation Science

Jon Cornwall

University of Otago | Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo

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Electronic Engineering

Anuroop Gaddam

Deakin University


Landscape Architecture

Bruno Marques

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Herenga Waka

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John Parsons

The University of Auckland | Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau

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Computer Engineering and Computer Science

Alvin Valera

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Herenga Waka

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Research Project Manager | Landscape Architecture

Maria Rodgers

Victoria University of Wellington | Te Herenga Waka



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Acknowledgments | Ngā Mihi

Organisations who have enabled our research - our sponsors

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