For the first time two Māori professors have been appointed at the same time at Victoria University of Wellington's school of architecture and design.
Professor Rod Barnett will head the school and Derek Kawiti will be professor for Māori Designed environments.
Deputy vice chancellor (Māori) Rawinia Higgins said having two more Māori faces among faculty will encourage more Māori students to take up professions in architecture and design.
"There is a saying that... if you can't see yourself somewhere you just won't go. And for me, I hope this encourages our people not only to come together and be proud to be Māori, but also encourages the next generation of Māori architects to come through," she said.
Kawiti said things have come a long way from his time as a student.
"In architecture especially when I was coming through there wasn't much visibility, and there weren't very many Māori role models.
"I think at the time there were only five or six Māori architects out there and we could have counted them on our hands."
Kawiti's research explores how modern day technologies intersect with the world of architecture.
"What I bring to [architecture] is a way of working where I try to renew and bring back a lot of Māori technologies that have been suppressed.
"But we do it via new techniques and methods, i.e robotics, we have a giant robotic arm in the basement, [and] 3D printers," he said.
Kawiti was cautious about navigating the world of mātauranga Māori in his work, as many outsiders might view it as a homegenous system rather than a diverse body of knowledge.
Barnett was the second professor taking up residence at the school.
A landscape architect, he has worked on projects such as Auckland's Aotea Square.
Barnett said he has spent much of his time working with African-American communities in the southern United States, and more recently will the small community of Kawhia, where he lives.
"My experience both in the states and back in Kawhia have got me to the point in this school where I feel
I'm really well positioned to take the skills and expertise of our staff and our students into the communities and find a way to articulate those skills and expertise with the kinds of communities I think that really need it," he said.