Latest Updates

Original Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora documents now available online

2 March 2018: Want to read the original overview and research plan for Building Better Homes, Towns, and Cities National Science Challange?

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora (PDF, 9.5MB)

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities: Ko ngā wā kaingā hei whakamahorahora - Appendices (PDF, 6MB)

Jackie Paul at the UN

Jacqueline Paul - delegate at the UN 2018 Winter Youth Assembly

19 February 2018: Jacqueline Paul (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi, Kahungunu) is part of the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Māori Research team. She was a delegate at the UN 2018 Winter Youth Assembly from 14 to 16 February in New York. This Youth Assembly is a platform to elevate the voices of young people in international dialogues, empower youth to advocate for future generations, and mobilize youth as agents of impactful change. Jacqueline's participation in this assembly was supported by the Challenge.

Think Tank hui aims at visible and disruptive contribution to housing debate

13 February 2018: Making a highly visible and disruptive contribution to the housing, urban design, and planning debate was the aim of a Māori Housing Think Tank hui, convened on 24 January to establish a kaupapa Māori research programme for the ‘Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua’ research area.

The hui, attended by over 30 participants, divided into three streams or whenu:

Whenu 1: Supporting Hauora Through Successful Māori Housing Initiatives Further understand, from the perspective of whānau, the nexus between poverty, housing, and well-being for diverse Māori communities and to examine solutions that can support transformational hauora outcomes.

Whenu 2: Economic Solutions to Support Māori Housing To develop a suite of economic and finance solutions for diverse whānau that can address issues of lifetime renting and home ownership, and explore the tensions between commercial return of assets, social housing for iwi, and enhanced hauora outcomes.

Whenu 3: Growing Papakāinga into the Future To examine a wide range of papakāinga developments to understand what is innovative and propose ways forward for the future of papakāinga housing that account for kāinga tahi kāinga rua.


TRANS-disciplinary research through STS practice: The co-creation of knowledge and collaboration

When: Sydney, Australia, August 29 – September 1, 2018

Science and Technology Studies (STS) has a key role in helping to create transdisciplinary research programmes that encourage collaboration and shared knowledge creation. Transdisciplinary research programmes are needed if we are to address the greatest challenges of our times, such as climate change. In attempting to understand the process of transdisciplinary research, we must first come to terms with different forms of knowledge. In the creation of transdisciplinary research programmes, such as the New Zealand Government’s National Science Challenges, what makes these collaborations effective, productive and satisfying programmes for all participants? How do different experiences and understandings of the world, such as indigenous knowledge and neoliberal governmentalities interact and co-exist in transdisciplinary research? How can pre-existing ideas (disciplinary concepts or policy) that may underpin transdisciplinary research be re-configured to respond to current social, economic and environmental issues? This panel seeks to explore how knowledge is co-created within transdisciplinary research through STS practice, and it seeks to examine the opportunities, challenges and the reality of engaging in transdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration to create meaningful change in our world.

Call for abstracts

The deadline for submitting an abstract is 1 February 2018. Paper submissions should be in the form of abstracts of up to 250 words. They should include the paper’s main arguments, methods, and contributions to STS. Submit your abstract through the 4S Conference Website. If you would like to discuss the relevance of your paper to the open track, then please feel free to contact Casimir MacGregor.

Please circulate this PDF to any colleagues, postgraduate students and other networks you think could be interested.  We are really interested in showcasing some New Zealand research and of course helping to grow science and technology studies (STS) here in New Zealand.  This is the first time 4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) has been held downunder, so it is a great chance to engage with world class scholars within the STS field.

NZ's hidden homes

14 December 2017: New research offers practical, community-based solutions to New Zealand’s housing crisis by turning existing stock into far more affordable, fit-for-purpose homes.

A new report from the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge shows around 12% of New Zealand’s housing stock is significantly under-utilised and many houses could be partitioned to deliver up to 180,000 new dwellings.

The ADU Potential report suggests that the Auckland region has a potential 45,000 partitionable dwellings. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Marlborough has around 2,000 partitionable dwellings. These dwellings would not impinge on greenfield sites or unutilised vacant land. There is also opportunity to introduce other forms of accessory dwellings (ADUs).


Transforming the building industry: State of Nation knowledge report

14 December 2017: The research team from SRA6: Transforming the Building Industry has just released a State of Nation working paper. This combined report, addressing the key themes of: Innovation; People; Technology; and Process, represents the first deliverable of a multi-year project for guiding and supporting the transformation of the New Zealand building construction industry. The report presents the findings from a comprehensive literature review and a series of focus groups and elite interviews conducted in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Then, based on the findings, the future research questions and recommendations.


Challenge to build better

7 December 2017: The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities – Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora National Science Challenge is one of 11 National Science Challenges established by the government in 2013.

Eleven challenges were progressively launched from late 2014 with the aim of focusing research effort on significant issues that matter most to New Zealanders. The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) challenge was launched in May 2016.

The BBHTC National Science Challenge is a collaboration hosted by BRANZ and involving researchers from more than 20 research organisations and companies. It brings together a team that includes expertise in design, architecture, construction, planning, geography, behavioural sciences, economics and technology.


New case studies now available

4 December 2017: Three new case studies showcasing some of the NSC BBHTC research have been added to the site. These are Decoding housing messages; Investing in affordable homes; and Land costs and affordability. Please see: Case Studies.

Toi Ohomai gets $700k for Maori health research project

16 November 2017: With the launch of the Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua research programme, the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology received $700,000 in Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities National Science Challenge funding to research new designs for sustainable and affordable homes and identify how these contribute to health and wellbeing for Māori.


Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua: Māori Research Symposium

4 August 2017: The final agenda for the Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua: Māori Research Symposium is now available. Please download the PDF here.

New case studies now available

1 August 2017: Four new case studies showcasing some of the NSC BBHTC research have been added to the site. These are Valuing sunshine; Building great neighbourhoods; Can higher density enhance liveability?; and Supporting regional settlements. Please see: Case Studies.

Contestable Funding Roadshow presentation

13 July 2017: See the BBHTC Contestable Investment Process 2017 Roadshow presentation by Ruth Berry and Jessica Hutchings. (PDF - will open in new tab).

Important note for Contestable Funding applicants

13 July 2017: Please note that CVs are required with your application. CVs are in addition to page limits specified in the Request for Proposals. The preferred format for CVs is the New Zealand RS&T CV Template (.docx - will download).

Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua: Māori Research Symposium

4 July 2017: Join us for a one day Māori Research Symposium for the Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge. Learn about the Māori-focused research in the Challenge and hear from recently-funded researchers working in the Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua research theme.

Venue: Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, Room, Matiu Room. Odlins Square, 2 Taranaki Street, Wellington Waterfront.
Date: Monday 14 August, 10.00am-3.30pm

RSVP to:

This event is free. An agenda will be posted on line by the end of July.

Contestable Funding Roadshow dates

20 June 2017: Ruth Berry, Director, and Jessica Hutchings, Acting Director Māori, will give a presentation outlining the Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge, what we are looking for in the contestable process, and what we are not seeking to invest in. This will be followed by a Q&A session.

Dates and venues are as follows:







21st June


Victoria University School of Architecture

Room VS125 on the ground floor of the Vivian Street building


23rd June


AUT University

Level 16, Room No: WO1609, WO Building 56 Wakefield Street


29th June


University of Waikato



3rd July


University of Otago



4th July


University of Canterbury

Room 1. Engineering Core

If you would like to attend a session please RSVP to with RSVP venue (e.g. Dunedin) in the subject line.

Contestable Funding Round

12 June 2017: The Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities (BBHTC) National Science Challenge (NSC) is running a Contestable Round to deliver on the challenge vision, mission, and objective. The available funding is $4.4m in total. The contestable process is set in the context of the existing Challenge research portfolio. Research funded in the contestable process should complement and build on existing research and not duplicate it.

Contestable Funding Round Documents are now available, with proposals dues by noon, 18 July 2017.


Our Research Programmes

8 June 2017: The BBHTC Challenge has six research programmes that will operate over the first five years of the Challenge:

1.      Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua

2.      Future neighbourhoods in cities

3.      Supporting success in regional settlements

4.      Next-generation information

5.      Transforming the building industry

6.      Improving the architecture of decision-making

A brief description of the six research programmes and how they will contribute to Challenge objectives is now available under the Challenge tab in the menu - or click the link below.


Contracted SRAs

6 June 2017: Research teams, the Governance Group, and the Challenge Directorate have put considerable effort into developing research programmes that align with the challenge vision, mission, and objective and are consistent with the National Science Challenge principles of collaboration and co-creation. The five SRAs approved for funding to date span scales from the local/neighbourhood to the national.


The Challenge Directorate

6 June 2017: The Challenge office has been established at our host BRANZ's campus at Judgeford, north of Wellington. Office staff include our Director, Ruth Berry, Gillian Benstead, who provides part- time administration support, and Jessica Hutchings, who has joined us to run the Kainga Tahi Kainga Rua and the contestable investment processes; and to work with the Governance Group and our Maori researchers.


Maori Housing - Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua Investment process

6 June 2017: We are currently in the process of investing in our final SRA Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua. The initial investment is focused on solutions for the greater Auckland area. The Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua Strategic Research Area recognises the dual and complex nature of our Maori identities and the many communities we construct our lives in.

Revised Timeframe for Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua Investment Process

2 June 2017: The timeframe for the Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua investment process has been amended to allow sufficient time for the development of quality full proposals.

New available funding

March 2017: Documents for the last Strategic Research Area, Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua, are now available. Please click the funding tab above.

This contestable round seeks to address the following high-level research question:
How do we collaboratively finance, design and build developments, with buy-in from multiple stakeholders, in ways that overcome discriminatory policy, legislative barriers and actively support Māori aspirations and needs for long term affordable, healthy housing?

Launch of Building Better Homes Towns and Cities

May 2016: The Building Better Homes Towns and Cities National Science Challenge was formally launched on 5 May 2016.  The launch was held at Ngāti Whātua Orākei Kāinga Tuatahi (First Phase) Auckland.  

This is the 11th and final of the governments National Science Challenges to be launched and involves a consortium of researchers from universities, crown research institutes, local government, the building industry, and private research organisations.   

The Challenge parties will partner with industry, iwi, local and central government, and communities to deliver robust evidence and improve end-to-end industry and regulatory processes.    

Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Challenge will identify new ways of living that reflect Aotearoas unique identity and respond to our changing lifestyle needs and aspirations.  Research outcomes will support New Zealanders to embrace change and to understand what sustainable and effective land use means for how we live in the 21st century.

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