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the mau movement

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


mau studio


To us at MAU Studio, MAU means your purpose. By enabling your MAU, you are able to pursue a purpose-driven life which in turn allows others to do the same.

Our MAU is to create a new movement, one which opposes the injustices and humans challenges we face today, and enhances the well-being and livelihood of all people and communities.




Architecture that enables your MAU (purpose).




To see a world where everyone has the ability to pursue their MAU (purpose). One where boundaries such as poverty and inequality are alleviated, enhancing the well-being and livelihoods of all.




To create holistic and systemic responses to human challenges, through the provision of architectural services to all.





Compassion is at the heart of our process. Influenced by Dalai Lama’s philosophy of compassion, our process reflects empathy, understanding ourselves and the people we work with; action, turning this inspiration in to practice through tangible outcomes; and impact, reflecting, evaluating and understanding our impact in communities.


Human challenges are vast and complex, and require creativity and problem solving if we ever wish to alleviate them.



We are required to separate ourselves from our comfort zones, use our initiative to implement social impact projects, and learn from them to teach others to do the same.



Understanding the ideas, customs, and social behaviours or norms of a particular people or society is integral to positive social change.




MAU STUDIO is an architecture and design practice who create holistic and systemic responses to human challenges.

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 endeavors, 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.






Following an outreach trip to the Philippines in late 2016 with her church, co-founder and 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 John 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 fueled 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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