Huri Te Ao Hoahoanga - School of Future Environments
Aotearoa New Zealand
  PhD, BDes (Int Arch).  Author of Regenerative Urban Design and Ecosystem Biomimicry  
Auckland University of Technology

Te Wānanga Aronui O Tāmaki Makaurau

Dr Maibritt Pedersen Zari 


Associate Professor

Public Engagement

Invitations to provide lectures or keynote addresses:

  • 2021. Panelist with colleagues A. Kilford, H. Smith, and I. Horrocks for ‘The City in the Anthropocene: Performing Urban Geology and Te Taiao’ In What if the City was a Theatre Symposium and Performance Event. Curated by M. Nixon. February. 2021. Invitation to produce the online Trans-Tasman Regen Roundtable #2 with colleague D. Hes. February. 
  • 2020. Invited speaker to the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities seminar series. ‘Green infrastructure for central Wellington post-COVID’ Wellington City Art Gallery, Wellington. July.   
  • 2019. Invited keynote speaker at the ‘6th International TensiNet Symposium: Softening the Habitats: Sustainable Innovations in Minimal Mass Structures and Lightweight Architectures’, Hosted by Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy.
  • 2018. Invited keynote speaker at the ‘Generous Cities Summit’ in Tempe Arizona, April. Hosted by Arizona State University and Biomimicry 3.8. April
  • 2018. Visiting scholar / lecturer at Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark. April – October.
  • 2018. Invited guest lecturer to the Architecture Masters Programme at Aalborg University, Denmark. September.
  • 2018. Invited visiting scholar at Coburg Hochschule School of Architecture in Germany. Public lecture and coordinator of an intensive special topic course in Living Architecture (2 weeks). June.
  • 2018. Invited visiting scholar (2 weeks) with Ceebios, through the Natural History Museum (Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle) in Paris. Several public lectures were provided including at the Institute for Desirable Futures (l’institut des futurs souhaitables) and the Ecole nationale supérieure de création industrielle (French national institute for advanced studies in industrial design). June / July. 
  • 2018. Invited Special Workshop speaker / facilitator at the 2nd Pacific Climate Change Conference, Wellington, February. Hosted by VUW and SPREP.
  • 2017. Invited lecturer at the Natural History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural Cubana) in Havana, Cuba, and the Santa Clara Architecture School, Cuba.
  • 2017. Invited lecturer at the Institute for Urban Planning Research (IPPUC), Curitiba, Brazil.
  • 2011. Invited lecturer for the `Regenerative Design and Development Workshop' at the Liu Centre for Global Studies, University of British Columbia.
  • 2011. Invited panelist for a discussion about biomimicry innovation (youth perspective & designer perspective) at a biomimicry workshop and speaker series held at the University of Auckland organised by The Kaitiakitanga Network. A DVD series of the discussions and activities was published after the event through Te Kura Toitu o Te Whaiti Nui-a-Toi.  

Professional Distinctions:
  • 2021. Invitation to participate in the British Academy’s COP26 ‘Nature-based Solutions in Small Islands’ workshop.
  • 2021. VUW nomination (1 of 3) to attend the 2021 Te Manahua New Zealand Universities Women in Leadership residential programme for senior academic staff.
  • 2021. Invited reviewer of book proposal for Springer.
  • 2020-23. Invited to the Scientific Committee and to be Co-chair of the panel ‘Design for Climate Change Adaptation’ for the International Union of Architects World Congress: ‘Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind’, 2023, Copenhagen, Denmark. 
  •  2020. Invited research proposal reviewer for the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). 
  • 2020. Invitation to be a guest editor for the journal ‘Biomimetics’ for a second special issue related to Biomimetic architecture and urbanism (first issue was 2019). 
  •  2020. Invitation to be a guest editor in collaboration with Dr Dom Hes (University of Melbourne) for the journal ‘Sustainability’ for special issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability. 
  • 2020. Invited reviewer of 2 book proposals for Routledge.
  • 2019-ongoing. Invited member of the Technical Advisory Group Resilient Ecosystems in the Pacific Programme, NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • 2019-ongoing. Invitation to become the first New Zealand director of the Urban Climate Change Research Network Australian Oceania Hub. I am one of four co-directors in the region (the other three are based in Australia).
  • 2019. Invitation to be a guest editor of the journal ‘Biomimetics’ for special issue: Biomimicry and Sustainable Urban Design.
  • 2019. Invited member of international Design Society Biomimetics Special Interest Group.
  • 2018. Invited Special Workshop speaker / facilitator at the 2nd Pacific Climate Change Conference, Wellington, February. Hosted by Victoria University and SPREP.
  • 2017 – ongoing. Member of the Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • 2017. Recipient of a Firebird Foundation Research Fellowship to study vernacular architecture.
  • 2017. Section leader and member of a multi-disciplinary team working on the Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project. PEBACC is a five year initiative implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the governments of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).
  • 2017. Invited guest editor of Buildings Journal Special Issue: Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design (Vol 7. No. 1)
  • 2016. Wellington City Council ‘Our Living City’ Fund recipient for the Biophilic Map of Wellington project.
  • 2015. Victoria University of Wellington School of Architecture ‘Research Streams Development’ Grant recipient for the Ecology is not a Metaphor! Project with colleagues Dr P. Connolly and M. Southcombe.
  • 2015. Victoria University of Wellington ‘Research Establishment Grant’ recipient for the Regenerative Urban Environments and Ecosystem Services project.
  • 2014. Invited member of the Formas Expert Review Panel for Sustainable Building and Planning Research. Formas is the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning.
  • 2007-2010. Invited member of the Patterns in Nature international research group. This is a group of mostly North American biomimicry researchers.
  • 2006-2009. Invited board member of the Sustainability Trust. Holder of the Built Environment Portfolio. The Sustainability Trust is a Wellington based trust which supports local communities in addressing sustainability related issues, particularly in the areas of energy efficiency, waste minimisation, transport, climate change and community.
  • 2006-2008. Member of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB) W115 Construction Materials Stewardship working commission group, following the publication of 'The State of Deconstruction in New Zealand' report to Task Group 39 of CIB in 2003 and 2005.
  • 2007. Winner of a Building Research Scholarship awarded by Building Research New Zealand to investigate biomimicry as a potential tool to be used to address climate change in the New Zealand built environment.
  • 2007. Winner of a New Zealand Post Graduate Study Abroad Scholarship to enable participation in the Biomimicry Institute course in biomimicry in Costa Rica. Participation was by selection and was limited to 19 designers and architectures from around the world.

Academic Service

Leadership roles:

  • Deputy Head of School. 2017 - 2018.
  • Director of Undergraduate Programmes. 2015 - 2017.

Participation in academic committees:

  • School of Architecture Academic Committee. 2015 to present.
  • School of Architecture Research Committee. 2010 to 2012 and 2017 to present.
  • School of Architecture Strategic Engagements Committee. Chairperson 2014 - 2015 
  • Victoria University Environmental Committee. Faculty of Architecture and Design representative. 2007-2011 & 2014 to present.

Participation in editorial boards, refereeing, collaborations (selected):

  • 2017. Invited guest editor of Buildings Journal Special Issue: Biomimetics in Sustainable Architectural and Urban Design (Vol 7. No. 1)
  • 2017. Section leader and member of a multi-disciplinary team working on the Pacific Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change (PEBACC) project. PEBACC is a five year initiative implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the governments of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI).
  • 2013. International Scientific Committee of the Sustainable Building Conference (SB13) to be held in Vancouver, Canada in June 2013. This is a blind peer reviewed conference organised by the Canada Green Building Council and the University of British Columbia in association with the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction. 
  • 2012. International Scientific Committee of the 1st International Conference on Building Sustainability (BSA) held in Portugal in May 2012. Other members of the Scientific Committee include researchers of the highest international standing in the field. It was a blind peer reviewed conference organised by the Greenlines Institute for Sustainable Development and the University of Minho. 
  • On-going. Invited Peer Reviewer for: Buillding Research and Information (BRI) Journal; Architectural Science Review (ASR) Journal; Sapiens Journal; Smart and Sustainable Built Environments Journal; Intelligent Buildings International (IBI) Journal; Journal of Fresenius Environmental Bulletin; Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design Journal; International Journal of Sustainable Development (IJSD) etc.

Other service to the School and Faculty:

  • Coordinator of the Benson Cooper Awards for Sustainability 2009 and 2010. This competition explores the potential of creative design and technical expertise to advance compelling solutions for sustainability. A series of 6 prizes totalling $6600 were awarded across disciplines in the School of Architecture.
  • Project Manager Faculty of Architecture and Design carboNZero initiative 2008. The Faculty participated in the Landcare Research programme and in June 2008 was the first such Faculty to achieve carboNZero, or any other carbon neutral certification in the world (for the period 2008/2009 only). News of the initiative was published in 'University World News', issue 34 by J. Gerritsen in June 2008.

Exhibition Curation

  • 2015-2018: Curator of several exhibitions featuring student work at VUW School of Architecture
  • 2015: Tokelau Community Centre Regeneration. Student work (third year interdisciplinary studio). Held at the School of Architecture.
  • 2010: Co-curator of the pop-up exhibition of third year interior architecture work exploring retail ideas for First Light (VUW's entry into the Solar Decathlon competition in Washington 2011). This was held in a vacant retail space in Wellington's CBD to showcase student work in a public and accessible forum.
  • 2006 to 2010: VUW School of Architecture Closing the Loops exhibition of Sustainable Architecture student work. $2000 funding was secured each year from Industry (Winstone Wallboards, Zerowaste NZ, WasteMINZ) to put the exhibition and opening night on. Ministers, Members of Parliament and Mayors opened the exhibition in different years. Several hundred professionals attended the opening nights. Held at the Faculty of Architecture and Design. Student work can be seen here.