The Story of MAU.

The term MAU has a longstanding history within Pacific Ocean societies. Le Mau a Pule, or O le Mau o Samoa (League of Samoans or ‘the firm opinion of Samoa) was established in the early 1900’s in opposition to colonial forces ruling Samoa. Commonly referred to as the Mau Movement, the systematic campaign was a non-violent, passive resistance which led to Samoa’s independence in 1962; becoming the first Pacific nation to gain independence.

A decade later, Mau Piailug, master navigator from Satawal guided a open-sea voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti. This was the first time in 600 years the route was navigated with celestial and ancestral navigation techniques. Mau’s teachings led to the renaissance of Polynesian voyaging, canoe building, and the revival of the Oceanic identity we witness today.


Influenced by Oceanic tupuna (ancestors), MAU Studio is a movement of innovators, creatives, and designers who use their platforms to alleviate challenges facing vulnerable communitiesFollowing 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 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.


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.