Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tamaki Paenga Hira

Client: Auckland War Memorial Museum
Timeframe: Initial projects 1-5 years, 20 year vision
Total value: Confidential

Components: Master planning, strategic design & implementation

Project description:

The Future Museum Project is a high level strategic and capital investment plan that will guide a process of change at Tamaki Paenga Hira – Auckland War Memorial Museum over the next 20years.

The project is currently in the Master Planning stage of delivery; encompassing strategic design & implementation plans with particular reference to initial projects in years 1-5.

The current Master Planning stage includes leadership of a multi-national design consortium to significantly enhance the content, layout and tikanga of the building and it’s collections in a way that will broaden and deepen peoples’ engagement, onsite, offsite and online for 20 years and beyond.

Our role

The Master Plan covers years one to five, the purpose of which is to establish the conceptual framework and guidelines for the Museum’s future building and development goals.  Xigo is engaged for the next 2 years to Project Manage future phases of the Future Museum project.  We’ll draw on our experience and success with other nationally significant cultural organisations such as the award-winning development of Auckland Art Gallery, as well as our ample experience of working on long-term, very complex projects, involving multiple partners and stakeholders.

Main challenges

“There are many issues that we, as project managers, need to take account of with this project.  Auckland War Memorial Museum is not just a building, it is a War Memorial and needs to be treated with the reverence and care such a sacrosanct place deserves. It is also a heritage building, so, whilst planning to take the Museum into a new era, we have to be very respectful of its past and the value stakeholders place on its history.” 

Malcolm Sabourin, Director.

Our approach

This is an incredibly stimulating and challenging project to be working on. It requires us to mentally engage with a vision of the future to imagine how museums will operate and base our planning on that. It constantly encourages innovative thinking as we need to work out the necessary sequencing of future changes.   We will continue to draw on our experience and will work closely with our client, the architects and other groups concerned with the master planning to ensure that we successfully achieve the client’s vision.

“All projects are different, challenging and interesting in their own ways, but this one’s special. It’s about a visualisation of the future and bringing that to life, but also very much rooted in the present in terms of dealing with the on-the-ground challenges such a multi-faceted project brings.” Gemma Wilson, Project Manager.


Once achieved, Future Museum will transform the content, layout and tikanga of the museum, and its digital presence, to broaden and deepen people’s engagement with it. It will reinforce the museum’s ongoing relevance for its diverse audiences: Māori, Pacific, Asian, European, and many others. It will ensure the museum’s sustainability; cement its status as a cultural leader and major tourist attraction; build its capacity as a place of learning and engagement; and have a direct and positive impact on Tamaki Makaurau Auckland’s communities and residents.