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Delivering the story of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi to the world

From the moment we first stepped foot on Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi campus in Whakatane, we were blown away.

A sense of welcome radiated around us. From the stories of the people studying and working, to the architecture quietly revealing its meaning, we knew we were in a special place.

Our mission was to deliver Awanuiārangi a digital experience that welcomed people, encouraged them to explore a deeper purpose, celebrated the history and paved the way for the future.

Cucumber’s approach is to start with people - He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Through empathy research, we heard amazing stories of overcoming adversity and experiencing both spiritual and academic transformation. We also earned the deep trust of the Awanuiārangi team during this process.

A postgraduate student we spoke to during empathy research said, “I have struggled in my life and I have changed and I believe this change happened when I undertook my Masters. Awanuiārangi is more than a book education, it’s a spiritual journey.”

We quickly identified that the people and their stories needed to be at the heart of the new website. Weaved throughout the story telling was a focus on providing relevant, accurate and timely information to support those considering enrolment, trying to better manage expectations and anxieties of studying, or wanting to learn more about how programmes are delivered and where they could take you. With a diverse student base that covers those out of school right through to those in their 90s, we heard stories of three generations of whanau studying together.

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Umbraco Website

Conducting empathy research enabled us to hear insights first hand, and map the student journey from certificate level qualification right through to postgraduate studies and across a range of different programmes. From here, we created personas, which allowed us to reference design efforts back to different user needs.

The new website , which launched on August 1, was a five-month project, delivered using agile methodology and a combined Cucumber and Awanuiārangi team.

“I believe this website will deliver a cultural shift for our wānanga. We are now able tell our peoples’ story. Education opens doors, it offers opportunity and with that brings hope. The new website represents the future,” said Marjorie Phillips, National Marketing and Recruitment Director at Te Whare Wānanga Awanuiārangi.

Built on Umbraco, the rich content of the new site is now easy to manage which was a key goal for the Awanuiārangi team. Awanuiārangi understood the importance of creating and managing content from the beginning. This ownership streamlined the testing and content management, delivering our shortest ever UAT period of three days.

This unique project captured the hearts and minds of our Cucumber team and Awanuiārangi shared this sentiment.

“In the 10 years I’ve been at Awanuiārangi, this has been the best project in terms of work delivered and engagement of both the internal project team members and the external Cucumber team,” said Marjorie Phillips.