Burgess Treep & Knight Architects Ltd Te Pou Theatre

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Graeme Burgess
  • Pou Taketake / Cultural Leads
    Tainui Tukiwaho, Amber Curreen, Maia Ratana, Amanda Rees
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Wade Southgate
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    James Delaney - Chain Construction, Mokonui-a-rangi Smith
  • Client
    Te Pou Theatre
Judge's comments:

A remarkable transformation of an industrial space into a culturally significant and purposeful indigenous performing arts centre, setting the stage for transformative kaupapa Māori-led experiences in the arts.


Te Pou Theatre is Aotearoa's home for kaupapa Māori Theatre, and is the world’s first purpose-built and independently owned indigenous performing arts centre.

The project brief was to adapt and uplift the existing Shed 1 - an industrial warehouse built in the 1970s for the production of wine, located within the historic Corbans Estate Arts Centre - into a warm, welcoming and purpose-built kaupapa Māori Theatre. The project was entirely reliant on funding, and had to make the most of a perennially tight budget.

Te Pou now boasts a 750sqm black-box auditorium seating 250 patrons, a 150sqm black-box rehearsal studio space that can seat 150 patrons, a grand entrance foyer complete with bar, ticketing desk, commercial kitchen and glamourous wharepaku and separate Te Pou offices, backstage working areas and hireable community spaces.

The vision of Te Pou is that tikanga Māori led performing arts will transform the arts sector and make a necessary difference to society in Aotearoa and indeed the world. This very special Whare gives Te Pou the platform to provide mana uplifting experiences and storytelling through kaupapa Māori-led, collective approaches to performing arts. With this kaupapa, Te Pou will be transformative.