Manuhuia grew up in a marae (traditional Maori village) on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Growing up in a bi-cultural household directly impacted on Manuhuia’s later work connecting people and ideas across organizational, cultural, ethnic, religious, and national boundaries to bring fresh perspectives to how organizations and people can work together to create value in the world. A designer by predilection Manuhuia’s work continues to help reshape the world – demonstrating through both his commercial and non-commercial work how working together can help us design and craft new value in the world in a sustainable manner.
His undergraduate work in Molecular Biology was completed at Canterbury University in New Zealand; and he completed his graduate education studying at Oriel College, Oxford University in England and taking his PhD in Political Philosophy from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. The key motivating factor binding all of his education together was a quest for greater understanding of the design of systems - biological, physical, social, cultural, and many more. Throughout this period Manuhuia was active in the Strategic Design and Foresight fields, undertaking a range of short-term projects for government and non-government clients across the Asia-Pacific region. The focus of his work here was mainly on large scale design - the design of country-scale initiatives.
After working in Universities in Australia and New Zealand he took up the post of the Foundation Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance and Development at Massey University, New Zealand in 2005. Throughout this period he continued to provide design advice and leadership for a range of groups and agencies including the Australian and New Zealand governments, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and other groups across the Asia-Pacific region. He also pursued an active interest in charity work during this period through his role as a Board Member of OXFAM-New Zealand. As past Chair of the Programming Committee for OXFAM-New Zealand he oversaw a yearly spend of $8 million across a range of countries in the Asia-Pacific region by that organization.
His first separate commercial venture was the creation of Synexe - a Strategic Design firm - in 2007 in order to leverage his consulting design work for greater global impact. Eventually operating in over twenty countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Synexe team helped organizations in the public, business and not-for-profit sectors. As a result of Synexe’s efforts, clients such as: the Australian Federal government; Transparency International; and URS Corporation became more innovative, more responsive, and more sustainable. His work has focused more recently on his specific work in Strategic Design - the newest design field - with his interests brought together with his work on Strategic Foresight under the rubric of the Archetekt brand. An additional project emerging out of his prior work at Synexe is The Poet & the Blacksmith - a new venture with his friend Dustin Fruson providing a space to support individuals to realize a deeper personal sense of purpose and well-being. This project is being launched in 2018.
Over the course of his career he’s published two books and over 20 articles and book chapters. He continues to write and publish on a range of issues including Strategic Design, Strategic Foresight, the emergence of the new economy, design as a field of inquiry, technology design and implementation, design in poverty alleviation, health systems, and environmental management. In 2019 his next book is scheduled to come out through Penguin.
What binds all of his work together - both written and practical - is his desire to help design and craft spaces of human flourishing and, in doing so, expand the scope of human creativity in order to create a more vibrant, more sustainable, and more connected world!