Kia ora, Talofa lava, Ni sa bula, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Gude/Hai, Kia Orana, Fakafeiloaki, Malo e lelei, Halo, Fakatalofa atu and warm Pacific greetings. We are pleased to announce the:

2023 NUWAO International Symposium on Nature-based Urban Climate Adaptation for Wellbeing, Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, 20-21 April 2023. 

We invite researchers, design professionals, practitioners, university students, and the general public to participate in envisioning how to develop innovative nature-based urban design solutions, particularly those rooted in Indigenous knowledge, that support climate change adaptation and individual and community wellbeing. We hope to be able to provide on-line as well as in-person participation. 

This symposium will include current research, case study examples, and practice related to nature-based solutions in Oceania.

To our knowledge this is the first international meeting specifically focussed on design-led nature-based solutions to climate adaptation, wellbeing and resilience.  

This symposium will particularly highlight Nature-based solutions work and practice where Indigenous knowledge is the driver or at the heart of projects. 

Image by Irina Macovei, Master of Architecture (professional), Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington

Geographic scope

The geographic scope for the symposium is principally focused on urban areas of Oceania.

This map defines our understanding of ‘Oceania’ as the combined Pacific Island nations of Melanesia, Polynesia, and Micronesia. Specifically, sites in the following countries: Aotearoa New Zealand, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rapanui, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna. We expect, however, that work and practice from other regions will be drawn on where this enriches the context for work in our region. 

Regions of Oceania. Source: Adapted from Australian National University (CC License).
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Symposium Aims 

  1. Provide a platform for Oceania-wide discussion, talanoa and korero on nature-based knowledge and research on climate change adaptation. 
  2. Highlight nature-based research and practice where Indigenous knowledge, wellbeing and resilience are at the centre.
  3. Explore design-focused adaptation responses to climate change, including showcasing NUWAO design competition winners.
  4. Evaluate and extend existing understandings of the above issues and approaches by practitioners, students and others, to help lay a platform for future work and collaborations.

Symposium Themes

  • Context for an Indigenous knowledge-driven focus on climate change adaptation and resilience in Oceania
  • Oceania urban wellbeing and resilience framework
  • Co-designing climate change adaptations
  • What could a design-led focus on climate change adaptation and resilience in Oceania look like?
  • Contributing to the preparation of a design toolkit on nature-led climate change adaptation and resilience for Oceania urban areas


Call for papers and posters: July 2022.
A call for contributed papers and posters will be issued in late July 2022.
Please note that due to time constraints, our symposium committee will only be able to select a modest number of submissions for oral (in-person or online) presentation. We will be less constrained  for poster papers or exhibits.

Submission deadline for abstracts of papers, posters and additional contributions in creative formats including photo essays, or narrative essays, or oral histories: Late October 2022

Responding to authors: Mid December 2022

Registration open: Early 2023 

Climate Change principles

We are very conscious of the carbon-emission implications of an in-person international gathering during our climate crisis, especially one centred on a region as vulnerable to climate impacts as ours. We think it will be necessary for our Talanoa-style symposium to be primarily face-to-face, but we are determined to minimise our carbon emissions, especially those associated with air travel, and offset what can’t be avoided. 

Please factor offset costs into your travel budgets, and watch this space.

Let us know now if you are planning to attend and/or if you like to help with sponsorship of the event. We are looking into travel support options for Pacific peoples.

We look forward to welcoming you to Wellington, Aotearoa!

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