Design is about how we purposefully and innovatively integrate form, function, tools and traditions to shape our experiences.

Design involves enhancing experiences, including through interior design, graphic design, jewellery design, toy design and product design.

Design includes new media, which uses digital technologies to create innovative and interactive experiences. New media encompasses designing software, video games and creative digital content.

Design also includes creative services, which apply creativity and design thinking to architecture, advertising, research and development, culture and recreation, to cater to the specific needs and aspirations of individuals and communities.

Design acts as a driving force for economic growth, as it encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, and creates jobs. Design goes beyond aesthetics; it addresses practical needs, helps us live more sustainability and improves our overall wellbeing. Engaging with design allows people to celebrate their cultural identity, diversity and craftsmanship. It instils a sense of pride in local talent and fosters a profound connection with their national heritage.

The expansive realm of design creates numerous opportunities for cross-cultural collaboration and global market expansion. By infusing design with elements inspired by Māori, Pacific and other cultural influences, New Zealand designs products and experiences that resonate with a diverse global audience, including Latin America. Design serves as a bridge that connects New Zealand to the world. It helps us understand and appreciate other countries, cultures and nationalities. Through design, we explore shared values and aspirations, which promotes a more interconnected and empathetic world.

“The unique fusion of Latin America’s creative spirit and New Zealand’s innovative culture not only enriches design, but also paves the way for cross-cultural inspiration and a more interconnected future in the realm of creative design.”
Dr Claudio Aguayo – Auckland University of Technology App Lab

Working together on digital technology is the most common way that New Zealand and Latin American countries have collaborated on design projects. New Zealand companies are taking advantage of the wealth of talent in Latin America, such as digital-game development company PikPok®, which is well established in Colombia.

Research and development involving New Zealand and Latin American academic institutions, companies and communities is also well established. For example, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) App Lab and Chilean company Embodied Group researched how to use digital innovation and creative media to enhance teaching and learning. These findings have now been transferred to other research and development partnerships with Chilean institutions and research centers.

So far, this work includes harnessing the power of mixed reality (such as Sumergiéndonos en el Mar de Chile) and virtual reality (such as the Mountain Safety Education Virtual Reality Project). Meanwhile Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and the local government and community of Machu Picchu Pueblo have developed a downloadable interactive resource called the Virtual Machu Picchu Pueblo Learning Tool.

Also, in the area of creative services, AUT has started running an architecture programme called International Professional Practice. This programme gives New Zealand students the opportunity to learn about architecture in Latin America, so that future architects will not only become global citizens, but will also stay connected with Chile and seek new opportunities there.

Individual New Zealand artists and their Latin American counterparts are experimenting with using digital technology to creative interactive art experiences. Examples include Joseph Michael’s work in Brazil on an augmented reality experience called Amazon – Raised Up Sky, and alys longley’s work with Chilean artist Máximo Corvalán-Pincheira on an interactive virtual exhibition space called A Tilting Body of Precarious Maps and Migrant Constellations.

New Zealand small businesses are also engaging in creative services in Latin America. For example, the website indie is creating digital content about indigenous stories from New Zealand and Colombia through its platform Legendary Links – A Muysca x Māori Collab.

Currently, New Zealand’s strongest design links are with Brazil and Chile, but our joint projects have also involved Colombia and Peru.

Introduction by Dr Claudio Aguayo

Explore a selection of Design related collaborations with Latin America


PikPok® and Wizard Fun Factory



Sumergiéndonos en el Mar de Chile



Auckland University of Technology International Professional Practice



A Tilting Body of Precarious Maps and Migrant Constellations

Argentina & Bolivia & Brazil & Chile & Colombia & Costa Rica & Cuba & Dominican Republic & Ecuador & El Salvador & Guatemala & Honduras & Mexico & Nicaragua & Panama & Paraguay & Peru & Uruguay & Venezuela