Fale Malae, Wellington

An iconic cultural institution on Wellington’s waterfront, the Fale Malae will hold Pasifika people, Tangata Moana, at its heart, but will be for all the people of Whanganui-a-Tara, of Aotearoa, and of our Moana Nui


Project Details

Client Fale Malae Trust
Sector Culture & Community
Location Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
Discipline Architecture
Status Ongoing
Design Collaborators Dr Albert Refiti, Michel Tuffery

A space to celebrate our place and relationship to Te Moana Nui-a-Kiwa

With the support of mana whenua, Pasifika leaders, Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington and the government, the Fale Malae Trust proposes to establish an iconic cultural institution on Wellington waterfront’s Frank Kitts Park. The Fale Malae will celebrate the many nations that make up the Moana Nui and provide a space for the people of Aotearoa to celebrate our place and relationship to Te Moana Nui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean).

Embracing a contemporary expression of thousands of years of rich architectural history, the proposed Fale will make for a striking civic building offering 360-degree views, that stitches together the surrounding cultural and arts precinct which includes Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, the proposed Chinese Garden, Te Ngākau Civic Square Precinct, Wellington City Gallery, and the Michael Fowler Centre. It will support a wide range of community and educational activities, enhancing a highly used and much-loved waterfront precinct.

Jasmax has worked in close collaboration with Dr Albert Refiti, Associate Professor at AUT and research leader in the field of Pacific spatial and architectural environments, and fine artist Michel Tuffery, on the design narratives and concept design for the project.

The Fale Malae’s sculptural roof form articulates two hands clasping together like those of a dancer of the tau’olunga – the last dance in Moananui Pacific ceremonies – symbolising the important relationship between Aotearoa and Tangata Moana. It also represents the coming together of Tangata Whenua and the Tangata Moana represented by the mirrored roof forms designed to protect and provide shelter.