Dr Charmaine 'Ilaiū Talei

Member of the Future Cities Research Hub | Senior Lecturer


Dr Charmaine ‘Ilaiū Talei is a Tongan architect (NZRAB, BOAQ), and Senior Lecturer at Te Pare School of Architecture and Planning. Charmaine has a wide appreciation of early and contemporary Indigenous architectural research and practice. Relevant FCRH interests include: culturally responsive design methodologies and built outcomes; therapeutic institutional environments; Pacific Wellbeing, Pacific Livelihoods and Pacific housing. Charmaine works as a consultant and senior architect on government, community, educational, institutional, and commercial projects with/and for Pacific, Māori and Aboriginal Indigenous communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, the South and Western Pacific Islands, and Australia. Enabling a symbiotic relationship between architectural research and architectural practice is a motivation of Charmaine’s work, with a focus on what uplifts and empowers Indigenous communities. 

Research interests:


  • Built environments for Pacific peoples
  • Architectural practice-led research (or ‘action’ research)
  • Pacific community and stakeholder engagement
  • Values-led design processes
  • Applying Indigenous knowledges to solve modern architectural problems 

Research projects:

Translating Pacific Health Research to improve Pacific Housing