How-to Guide: Te Wānanga o Raukawa

Find out about the key elements of a high-trust model of engagement, the use of deep-rooted Te Ao Māori principles, and innovative construction techniques that can be applied to all construction projects.

This quick guide can be used by organisations, project managers or businesses wanting to adapt some of the principles used in this project. It focuses on some of the key elements that made this project so successful for all parties involved.

The Team

  • Where possible hand-pick your team, contractors and those involved who already understand how to work around a guiding set of values.
  • Build the team based on a diverse range of expertise, experience, and knowledge.
  • Instil and foster good, open, honest communication from the start, that in turn fosters a high trust relationship across the board.
  • Create a set induction process for the project and site that includes the values, the big picture about the project including the rationale behind decisions and one that invites feedback and participation.
  • Inspire and encourage a sense of leadership, ownership and belonging across every person on the project, this ensures a higher level of care for delivery at every stage.
  • Involve key players in variation conversations and decisions.
  • Have a plan to increase carbon literacy across the whole the team, for example learn “rough carbon” like we understand “rough cost”.
  • Have a plan to upskill those who need it in the Living Building Challenge principles.
  • Lead by example and support others to do the same.
  • Look after the people involved, right through the project not just the key management and leaders.


  • Be prepared to put in the work from the start to map out a procurement process that will work for all involved.
  • Put in place a set of guidelines around variations, challenges, potential budget overruns and have someone monitoring this on site (project manager is best if they have the skill set).
  • Set regular budget update meetings that are engaging, informative and honest.
  • Look at tenders based on not just cost, but any prior relationship with companies and/or experience in the type of project you are looking to run.
  • Look at where you can add agile thinking to standard contracts that benefit both parties at different stages of a project.

Site management

  • Waste diversion works well when everyone is asking the question “how can we use this potential waste differently?” Get everyone thinking and sharing ideas as they work on a site for how things can be reused, recycled, repurposed, or disposed of differently.
  • Achieving zero waste on a construction site is possible, there are sometimes extra costs in reusing, recycling, repurposing site waste, or exploring alternative ways of disposal but the cost savings are also there. Understanding the small ways you can start to make a dent in the amount of waste on site is a good starting point.
  • Working towards zero waste is what every project will be doing within 10 years, and every client and financier will be asking for it. Make sure you understand how you can start reducing site waste now.
  • Be willing to sit round a table and have tough conversations and confront issues but set values or guiding principles so that it is not personal, and everybody involved can maintain their mana and rangatiratanga.
  • Have adequate site management in place, with a person responsible for inductions, health and safety and people’s wellbeing.


  • Commit to developing the design, including selecting materials and designing around the module sizes, limitations etc. where practicable.
  • A tracking table for materials needs to start early and become the new business as usual.
  • Be prepared to explore alternative solutions for materials, where costs or availability are an issue.
  • With a Living Building Challenge, there is a 'red' list of materials. Become familiar with it and the suppliers you will use throughout the project.

The Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List represents the "worst in class" materials, chemicals, and elements known to pose serious risks to human health and the greater ecosystem that are prevalent in the building products industry. The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) believes that these materials should be phased out of production due to human and/or environmental health and toxicity concerns. While there are certainly other items that could be added, this list was determined by selecting items with the greatest potential impact if they were significantly curbed or eliminated from the building industry. ILFI worked with the Healthy Building Network and the Pharos Project to develop the original Red List in 2006.

About the Red List(external link)  -

Read the Te Wānanga o Raukawa case study.

Last updated: 31 July 2023