World Expo, Dubai

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
October 2021 – April 2022

The Aotearoa New Zealand Pavilion sat within the Sustainability District at Expo 2020 Dubai. The pavilion’s theme, Care for People and Place, is based on the concept of kaitiakitanga – the connection between people and the natural environment. The theme was inspired by the world-first status given to the Whanganui River by legislation that recognised it as a living and indivisible whole, with the rights of a person: Ko au te Awa, ko te Awa ko au – I am the river, the river is me.

We collaborated with Creative Director Karl Johnstone and Workshop E to deliver an immersive, multi-sensory visitor experience that showcases the nation’s spirit of innovation and technical production. As visitors entered the pavilion their body interacts with and displaces projected particles, illustrating the impact of humans on the natural world. Next, a large rock from Mount Tongariro, selected from the source of the Whanganui River, is surrounded by falling water and imbued with the river’s mauri (life principle) – its pulse emanates within and outside the building.