Home / Urban  / Revealed: New Zealand’s sustainability-focused Expo 2020 pavilion

Revealed: New Zealand’s sustainability-focused Expo 2020 pavilion

Top image: Night view of the New Zealand pavilion for Expo 2020.

New Zealand’s pavilion will be located in Expo 2020’s Sustainability District, and tell the story of New Zealand’s kaitiakitanga, or care for people and place. The 2,000-square-metre pavilion is being designed by a team led by Jasmax, and features an exhibition space, restaurant, design store and hosting facilities.

The pavilion was inspired by waka taonga, made by M?ori to safeguard items of value. The carved containers, which included waka huia and papahou, were gifted to strengthen relationships, create new partnerships and maintain traditions and stories from one generation to the next.  The architectural concept uses the waka taonga as a way of bringing people together – which connects with the overall theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” at Expo 2020. 

To say Expo 2020 is expected to be a grand affair on par with the great World’s Fairs and Expos (like the famed World’s Columbian Exposition or Lewis and Clark Exposition of centuries past) would be an understatement. The UAE will host 180 countries and 25 million visitors to Dubai for the six-month expo, which is expected to open in October 2020.  Participating nations will showcase their economic and trade capabilities, alongside their culture and values. 

The New Zealand Government has committed $53 million over the next four years to design, construct, operate and promote New Zealand’s presence at Expo 2020. The design for the pavilion was unveiled during a visit by United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Wellington on Wednesday.

An aerial rendition of the Expo 2020 site in Dubai.



Expo 2020 Dubai

– Theme: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
– Countries will be grouped in three districts: Mobility, Opportunity, Sustainability.
-180 participating nations.
– 25 million visitors expected to attend, with 70% from outside the UAE.
– The Expo 2020 site is 438 hectares in size.
– The UAE is New Zealand’s 10th-largest trading partner.

New Zealand Pavilion

– Designed by a consortium including architects Jasmax, with Mott MacDonald (engineering) and Special Group (creative storytelling).
– The concept design is around 2,000 square metres, and features an exhibition space, restaurant, design store and hosting facilities.
– The last World Expo New Zealand attended was Shanghai, China in 2010, in which 316 New Zealand companies were involved and more than 9,000 people attended functions at the New Zealand pavilion.

Review overview