New Zealand's Best

Enter the Awards.

Ngā Aho Best Award for Aotearoaness

The Designers Institute partnered with Ngā Aho Incorporated, the national society of Māori Designers in 2012 and brought this exciting new award to the Best Design Awards.

Key Dates Nga Aho Award 2015

Call for Entries - 7 April
Close of Entries – 3 July, 6pm
Late Entries – 8 July, 6pm
Supporting Material for Nga Aho - 14 July
Judging Nga Aho – 20 August
Finalists for Nga Aho Announced - 24 August
Awards Night – 9 October, 6.30pm

Kaupapa / Purpose

The Ngā Aho Award for Aotearoaness recognises excellence in two areas:

1. Aotearoaness
Design that reflects a clear understanding of who we are and where we are in our unique corner of Moana nui a Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean, by responding to our indigenous culture, heritage and sense of place.

2. Collaborative practice
Design that results from meaningful collaboration.

Ngā Aho recognises the collaborative practice of ‘co-design’, requiring an effective and measureable engagement between designers and clients, as Best practice when working within and between cultures, whether that be:

• Māori or non-Māori Designers working with Māori clients, or; 

• Māori and non-Māori Designers working with one another to express uniquely New Zealand design that exudes Aotearoaness, or; 

• Non-Māori designers engaging with Māori people, culture and identity to develop work that seeks to expresses Aotearoaness.

Eligibility and Judging

Award Eligibility
The Award is open to any designers, design businesses, design collaborations, or design clients, who believe their project aligns with the Award Kaupapa / Purpose.



Enter the names of the:
Design Director(s) 
Creative Director(s)
Design Team
Contributors (Individual Name OR Company only and DON”T list the 'role' of the contributor)

We promise we WON'T be making changes once you have submitted the entry.

Please confirm all credits with your Design Director/Client before doing the final submission online. Names omitted will NOT appear on the website, be read out on the Awards evening, be included on the certificates, nor be included in the Best Design Awards Annual.

Uploading Images
Upload up to 10 images in the order you want to presenbt your work.
The first is your Hero Image.
Images should be 300dpi RGB jpegs sized to 210mm wide x 148mm tall. Images are restricted to a maximum of 8MB each.

You have available, around 400 words 11pt font size, to explain your project so that the judges are able to understand the brief, the process and the solution. Refer Evaluation Criteria for more detail and to understand how judges will consider work submitted.

NOTE: It is important that the name of the entrant / studio / tertiary institution is not visible anywhere on the online entry or supporting material.

Supporting Material - delivered to the Designers Institute office by Friday 15th August

The judges highly recommend that you send additional supporting material such as a book or poster to the Designers Institute as judges will take these into consideration in the judging procss.
Please note that A2 presentation boards are no longer required or considered.

Ensure your ENTRY NUMBER is sent with any supporting material.

It is the responsibility of the entrant to courier the supporting material.

During the entry process online, you can elect to pay for supporting material to be returned to you by the Designers Institute following judging.

NOTE: It is important that the name of the entrant / studio is not visible anywhere on the supporting material

Address for Supporting Material

Designers Institute of New Zealand
Ground Floor,Suite 5
27 Gillies Avenue

Video Submissions as additional Supporting Material
You can submit a short 90 second video as supporting material.
Flythroughs, renders and process videos all add to help you communicate the process you went through.
The same rules apply to videos as other supporting materials - the videos should not have identifiable reference to your studio.
Simply upload your video to Vimeo or YouTube and include the URL as apart of the entry process.

Entry Fees
Non members $289 per entry
Designers Institute members $189 per entry

If you join the Institute before you enter the Best Awards, you will be able to benefit from the lower membership rate.

Can be by credit card. We accept Visa or Mastercard processed online securely through DPS.

You will be emailed a GST receipt after confirmation of payment.

When the payment is processed you will be emailed your ENTRY NUMBER.

Ensure your ENTRY NUMBER is sent with any supporting material.

Work will be judged by:

• An executive or Pae Matua member of Ngā Aho Incorporated, as selected by Ngā Aho.

• A high standing member or Kaumatua of the Māori creative community, by Ngā Aho invitation.

• A Board or Professional Member of the Designers Institute selected by the Board and/or CEO.

The winning entry will be awarded the Purple Pin.

Judging Criteria

1. Aotearoaness

Auahatanga / Creativity and growth 
Creative work that pushes the boundaries and explores the fringes of meaning and identity.

Kaupapa / Intent
Design that explores and articulates concepts, ideas, stories or meaning that responds to our indigenous culture, heritage and sense of place.

Tikanga / Process
Processes which promote cultural integrity in development of the design response.

Ahuatanga / Character
Design that achieves new heights in the expression of ‘Aotearoaness’ in a tangible way through style, form and character.

2. Collaboration

Whakawhānaungatanga / Relationship Development
Evidence of Designers actively seeking and developing meaningful relationships with their clients.

Kanohi ki te kanohi - Pakahiwi ki te pakahiwi / Co-design
Evidence of ‘co-design’ process through designers and clients working effectively ‘Kanohi ki te Kanohi - Pakahiwi ki te Pakahiwi’ – Face to face and shoulder to shoulder, exhibiting trust, respect and rapport.

Evidence of collaboration
It is expected that entries will be able to evidence a solid collaboration context through things such as:

• Joint submission of entry by both designer and client.

• Client testimonial or endorsement of entry.

• Written and or visual account of the relationship or engagement.

• Provision of a suitable referee of standing who can be contacted by the judges for comment.


Can I enter a Work already judged at Best 2013?
Yes. If you have Work that was previously entered within a discipline category in 2013, there is no restriction to entering the Work into the Nga Aho Award so long as you address the entry criteria.

Read all the rules here