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Desna Whaanga Schollum 2022 Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Artlands 2023 Facilitator at Regional Arts Australia

Desna Whaanga-Schollum / Artlands 2023 Facilitator

M.Sci Comm, B.Design

Resident in her iwi (tribal) territories on the East Coast of Aotearoa New Zealand, and an Ambassador for Landscape Foundation NZ, Desna is actively involved in indigenous discourse, reinscribing ancestral narratives in cultural landscapes, advocating respect and reciprocal relationships with Place. Applying mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems) through Design, Strategy, Arts, Science Communications, and Governance roles, Desna has worked across a wide range of projects for 26 years.

Previous governance roles incl: Chairperson and founding member Ngā Aho Māori Design Professionals; Chairperson Artspace Aotearoa; Trustee Arts Foundation NZ; Trustee Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery; Board Member Auckland Urban Design Panel.


  • Selection Committee: Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), international research institution and museum Indigenous-led Design Fellowship, 2023
  • Artist In Residence: Inaugural Regional Assembly. Artist-led online studio program connecting cultural practitioners working in regional and remote geographies across Australia, Asia, and the Pacific 2022-23
  • Presenter: Ico-D (International Council of Design) 28th General Assembly. + Co-Chair International Indigenous Design Circle inaugural gathering. Vancouver, Canada, 2019
  • Co-Creator: Maanjiwe Nendamowinan: ‘The Gathering of Minds’. Mississauga / Tkaronto-Aotearoa Indigenous ‘Placemaking’ 
Practitioners Retreat and Symposium. Toronto, Canada, 2019
  • Presenter: Our Voices II The De-colonial Project Conference. University of Sydney. Australia, 2019
  • Keynote: Artlands - Australia Regional Arts Conference. Bendigo Australia, 2018
  • Keynote & Yarning Circle: Indigenous Design Symposium, University of Melbourne. Australia, 2018
  • Presenter: Global Conference on Indigenising Entrepreneurship. Ottawa, Canada, 2018
  • Judge: Designers Institute of NZ, BEST Design Awards, 2013

Iwi (Tribal) affiliations: Rongomaiwahine, Kahungunu, Pāhauwera. Ngāi Tahu Matawhaiti


Instagram: whaanga_schollum