Fale malae building on proposed site at Frank Kitts Park, Wellington.
Design of the fale malae on the proposed site at Frank Kitts Park, Wellington.
Interior of fale showing children attending a lesson.
The fale will be a showcase for Pasifika arts and culture, as well as a venue for community and educational events.

Plans for a national fale malae in the capital are taking root, with designs for the new building released.

The project is a joint endeavour of the University, the Fale Malae Trust, the Wellington City Council, and central government, with support from Pasifika communities and mana whenua.

Drawings of the proposed fale show a glass-walled building with a distinctive roof, which design firm Jasmax says represents two hands clasped together like those of a dancer of the tau‘olunga (a Tongan dance).

The building will provide a showcase for Pasifika arts and culture, as well as a venue for community and educational events. The University’s support for the project reflects our commitment to fostering inclusive learning environments and helping ensure equitable outcomes.

Jasmax designed the fale in collaboration with Associate Professor Albert Refiti from the School of Art and Design at Auckland University of Technology and renowned Pacific artist Michel Tuffery. University alumnus and architect Fa’asalele Malo also provided advice on the design.

The Fale Malae Trust, chaired by Adrian Orr, is spearheading the project. Adrian and fellow trust members Adrian Wimmers and Priscilla Agius are university alumni. Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Hon. Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban and chief financial officer Les Montgomery are also trustees.

“We’re proud to have several alumni on the trust,” says Luamanuvao Dame Winnie.

“The work of Adrian Orr, Adrian Wimmers, and Priscilla, alongside myself and Les, makes clear our alumni are committed members of their university community and care deeply about our city, our country, and our Pacific region.”

Luamanuvao Dame Winnie says our Pacific identity is an integral part of our heritage and our future, and she’s keen to see progress on the fale continue for the benefit of the whole community.

“The design of the fale links the Pacific to Aotearoa—this project shows Aotearoa has reached a key point in our identity as a Pacific nation.”

Taranaki Whānui and Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa, along with Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira and the Wellington Tenths Trust, have pledged their support for the project and their Pasifika whanaunga (wider family).

The government has committed $10 million to support the fale’s development. The Fale Malae Trust is hoping to raise donations to match this contribution.

To find out how you can support the project, contact info@falemalaetrust.org.nz

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