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 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 focused 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. 

The call for abstracts for the 2023 NUWAO International Symposium on Nature-based Urban Climate Adaptation for Wellbeing, to be held in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, 20-21 April 2023 has now closed.
(Please contact us directly if you would like us to consider a late submission:

Call for abstracts flyer

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).
Read More

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.

5. Progress towards agreed best practice processes of NbS climate adaptation with Indigenous wellbeing at the centre.

Symposium Themes

  • Opportunities and issues for an Indigenous knowledge-driven focus on climate change adaptation and resilience in Oceania
  • Oceania urban wellbeing and resilience frameworks
  • Implementing just, enabling, participatory and co-designed climate change adaptations
  • Design-led focus on climate change adaptation and resilience in Oceania -what could this look like?
  • Elements or examples for a design toolkit on nature-led climate change adaptation and resilience for Oceania urban areas

Extended call for papers, posters, presentations

The call for abstracts and summaries is now open. Please submit your abstracts here.

Formats include:

-Oral papers (academic or narrative)

-Poster papers


-Photo essays

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 other formats.

Updated Abstract submission deadline for all formats: 14 November 2022

Draft programme and responding to submitting authors: Mid December 2022

Registrations open: Early 2023 

For more information or for questions, please email us at

Fees and Accommodation


The symposium budget, registration fees and accommodation options are currently being finalised. Our aim is to keep fees as low as possible. There is no profit being made on the Symposium; we are just covering costs. Let us know now if you are planning to attend and/or if you like to help with sponsorship of the event.

As a guide to intending participants, here are the “likely fee ranges” for different categories of participants. We will confirm this as soon as we are able.

Fee categoryLikely fee range ($NZ)
Full (professional)    in-person$240-$275
Unwaged/community in-person$100-$140
Full (professional)    online$100-$140
Unwaged/community online$50-70

If the fee is a barrier to your participation please get in touch as we will provide a limited number of scholarships. We are looking into travel support options for Pacific peoples. You may want to apply for travel support through the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ‘Collaborate Pacific‘ fund if you are a Pacific Island citizen (by February 2023 at the latest).

Read More


The Naumi Studio Hotel, immediately adjacent to the symposium venue can be booked at a 15% discount for symposium attendees. Please get in touch for discount codes.

Additional suggested accommodation options will be offered shortly. 


We will post the draft programme for the Symposium in December 2022. We can confirm that there will be an informal gathering on the evening of the 19th of April, a social event on the evening of the 20th of April including the formal prize giving and exhibition opening for the NUWAO Oceania Nature-based Urban Adaptation driven by Indigenous Knowledge Design Competition, and an optional field trip on the 22nd of April.

Field trip (Saturday 22nd April)

We are pleased to offer an exciting optional addition to the symposium programme: a (mainly) walking field inspection of highlights of our fascinating and beautiful Wellington City (Te Whanganui-a-Tara).

Guided by experts who really know and love their city, explore the natural and cultural diversity of the city, see and discuss the opportunities and challenges for climate change response and resilience.  The tour includes:

  • Walking through selected city streets and along the beautiful Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour) waterfront, including the site of the proposed Pasifika Fale Malae.
  • Riding the famous 120-year old Wellington Cable Car.
  • Viewing construction of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington’s Living Building Challange Living Pā project.
  • A guided tour or self-guided walk around Wellington’s ground-breaking eco-sanctuary Zealandia Te Mara a Tane.

The tour is programmed over the whole day between 9.30am and around 4pm but can be finished at any time.  It is open to all registrants and accompanying whānau (family).  Reasonable fitness and walking shoes are required for leisurely walking for around 3-4 hours, generously spaced over the whole day and mostly away from Wellington’s famous steep hills!  Participants need to register ahead, but there is no registration cost.  Participants “pay their own way” on the day.

For an introduction to many of the things we will see, visit the Wellington Nature in the City interactive map.

Read More
Wellington Cable Car

Climate Change principles and travel offsets

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.  Although we think it is necessary for our symposium to be primarily face-to-face, we are determined to minimise our carbon emissions, especially those associated with air travel, and to offset what can’t be avoided. 

We encourage all intending participants to factor carbon offset costs into their travel budgets. We have teamed up with the respected New Zealand environmental consultancy Ekos to offer options for doing just this.  We are also reducing emissions through other aspects of the symposium, for example in offering only vegetarian food in our catering options.

Through Ekos we suggest three options for travel-related carbon offsetting:

  1. Use Ekos’ individual measurement and offsetting calculator to measure your flight or driving emissions in getting to Wellington for the symposium. Follow through the steps in the tool to calculate your flight or driving emissions (accommodation and other emissions can be included too), and this will take you through to a calculated total amount to pay to partially or fully offset those emissions through purchasing certified forest carbon credits from Ekos’ supply chain of permanent restorative forest carbon projects. Participants in this option will receive an Ekos Carbon Friendly certificate.
  2. If you can’t afford the cost of even partial offsetting or simply prefer to make a donation to a carbon-related forest conservation project, this can be done through Ekos’ donation page.  Project donations (any amount can be chosen) contribute to the non-commercial costs of the chosen project, such as conservation management, pest control, and accreditation and are highly valued. Donations are not purchases of carbon credits. You can select which forest project you wish to support with your donation. 
  3. Work through Ekos’ Carbon Friendly certification process to measure, offset and certify full travel offsets. This tool is primarily for organisations wishing to offset their attendee’s travel. This could be done through Ekos’ quick, affordable online business-calculator tool or by directly working with the carbon management team (contact is in the online business calculator tool).
Read More

For further information on organisation certification and other enquiries please contact

We look forward to welcoming you to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa!

Sign up to our mailing list for the latest NUWAO updates and further Symposium information.