Ole mau a Samoa: THE MAU

MAU was the name given to a non-violent movement for Samoan Independence in the 20th century. This movement was in protest of the social injustices and disenfranchisement of the Samoan people and culture under colonial rule. The opposition to these social injustices named themselves Ole MAU a Samoa, translating to, the firm opinion of Samoa, the MAU for short.

This movement wasn’t in avail, and ultimately led to Samoa’s independence in 1962. 

Definition of



(a) To be firm, steadfast


(b) To strive or to persevere


(c) To carry, retain or hold; to seize



Following an outreach trip to the Philippines in late 2016 with her church, co-founder and Managing Director Lynette Hunt felt called upon to serve a community through the provision of design and project management services, for a new community church and multi-functional building. Upon returning to New Zealand she enlisted the help of Tuputau Belford-Lelaulu, Carinnya Feaunati and Reagan Laidlaw, to deliver what initially was the one project in Baguio, northern Philippines. A subsequent visit in early 2017 fuelled our joint passions for social equity and the alleviation of poverty, resulting in the formation of MAU studio, with the idea of making architectural services accessible to communities who previously hadn’t had access to them.



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We seek to expand the role and responsibilities of Architects and the Architectural profession at large, through making Architectural services accessible to all. We ask the question “what more can one building do?”, ensuring that our responses provide added value to all stakeholders involved in the process.

Complexity and unpredictability underpin all human endeavours, meaning a “one size fits all” approach is not suitable if we are to solve some of the greatest challenges we face today.

We believe Architects have a responsibility to be more engaged and active in this space, as we possess skills in problem solving, creativity and collaboration, enabling us to create a holistic and systemic response to the challenges we face.

At MAU studio, we seek to do this not just through our approach to each project, but also through the services we provide. Our services in Advocacy, Education and Architectural Consultancy provide us with an ecosystem of services which are able to address challenges in multiple ways, but also able to address multiple stakeholders in the process.