An invite from interior designer Kairangi Buchanan to future fellow Pasifika designers and architects. 

There’s space on this Vaka.

Whichever way you look at it, choosing a career is a wild concept.  

Deciding on what you’ll spend a great deal of your life doing at a young age – when you’re only just figuring out who you are – borders on comical. How are you supposed to know? Of course, the open secret among ‘adults’ is that you can always change your mind. All the same, I want to encourage you to consider a career in architecture and design.  

Why? You are already uniquely equipped to find success because:  

Our cultures are inherently creative.

As you know, our Pasifika culture is deeply rooted in our love of storytelling. Whether it’s through our indulgent kai moana, the shared beat of our dancing or the intricacy of our carvings and tattoos, we know how to share our histories. We have multiple narratives running through our veins, so the ability to help others tell their stories in brick, concrete or glass is our gift to share.  

We know how to build, and maintain, a thriving community.

The phrase ‘it takes a village’ is embodied by the close-knit nature of our community. Because of this, we have a lot to show the architecture and design industry in terms of building the shared trust, respect, and good humour that it takes to create a flourishing community. Pasifika people know what it means to always have support and to have access to diverse perspectives and generational learningBecause of this, whave the ability to lead by example.  

We are deeply connected to our land and water.

The experience of designing to improve the land and waters where we stand, swim and harvest is second to none. Through the lens of architecture and design, understanding site is a vital skill. Nobody is better equipped than you when it comes to knowing how a new building or redevelopment can work in harmony with the place it stands and the waters that flow within it. It takes strong mana to shape the places that will influence how life plays on our country, and we need you because you are a vital part of its past, present and future. 

It’s a rewarding career choice.

The architecture and design industry is in need of people-centric, problem solving, and emotionally intelligent designers. It’s a career where you can see your cultural history come to life and take your place among people who are designing with sensitivity to cultural histories and futures. If your interests align, studying architecture and design is creative, challenging and rewarding. More than tall buildings and pretty scenes, the outcomes you will play a part in designing can influence and improve lives.

You can (I did).

I come from humble beginnings and hail from the tiny south pacific nation of The Cook Islands. With only a suitcase in tow, my mother moved my sister and I from our island home to New Zealand where our new life began. Like many Pasifika migrants, my mother worked hard to provide for us and to instill a good work ethic. Thanks to the work ethic I was taught, I was able to study – and later practice – Interior Design. Now, I work for a global studio – working on projects around the world.  

Kairangi Buchanan 

I want you to know that there’s space on this Vaka, and there is room next to me.

Kairangi is an Interior Designer with extensive experience in many sectors including retail, hospitality, residential and commercial. She has experience abroad in Australia as well as locally in New Zealand. Her design approach is that of sensitivity and methodical detailing where she strives to create unique and thought-provoking spaces for her clients. She is passionate about design and takes pride in demonstrating this through her work.

If you are a university-aged student of Pasifika or Maori decent, Woods Bagot Auckland would like to provide mentoring, folio review and networking opportunities to aid you on your journey. Please get in touch below: