Finding Simple & Functional Designs in New Zealand

New Zealand Travel

I find New Zealand to be an incredibly powerful, spiritual and simple country.

The Maori Culture is alive and well and integrated with the British influence. These native Polynesian heritage people fought hard for their rights and land so they still strongly influence the country. Sheep, greenery, mountains and ocean are visible in every turn of the road as the ecosystem changes constantly to keep the eye stimulated and fed. The Maori Indians are peaceful and respected residents in the country. Their artwork and designs are elegant, primitive, and simple – reflecting the beauty of the nature in New Zealand.

I’ve been to New Zealand about 8 years ago with my family. We were there for 8 days and were only able to cover the southern part of the South Island. During those 8 days I was incredibly moved by the peaceful nature and modern architecture; I feel passionate about both.
Drawn to return to New Zealand, we planned to visit the northern part of the South Island, the North Island, and ending our trip in Fiji. I am looked forward to seeing the ferns, the fresh clean water, dramatic rock as the land meets the sea – but this time I also wanted to note the architecture and how it reflects the natural surrounds.


The architecture is primarily still simple even in new construction. The simplicity is read as modern but only because building techniques are used in the most basic of ways. The homes are primarily bungalows and it is fairly rare to see a two-story

Their weather is much more mild, similar to Northern California, so the windows & doors are single pane and very simple. The roofs are primarily metal.

Because it is an island with limited natural resources and manufacturing, the material selections are fairly basic (unlike the plethora of selections in America). The cabinetry was primarily of an IKEA style, look, and function with a functional pantry. Flooring was primarily wood or carpet and siding was painted natural wood.

Overall, because the materials were simple, they use them in interesting ways such as wood on the ceiling and walls juxtaposed with white paint. Insetting the carpet instead of installing it on top of the floor or a full view windows and doors with little interruption of trim work were not uncommon.

There is a serenity and calmness to the designs. You are always intended to experience the natural surrounds. When living in the spaces I found that the floor plans were just about perfect. Space was always used efficiently and thoughtful in a clever way with pocket doors or sliding doors to divide space and very few hallways. The floor plans take advantage of views and create privacy, appropriately designing a functional, practical, and simple space for people who are tightly connected to nature and it is reflected in their architecture.

If you love to travel and can carve out enough time to really relax
into the culture and experience, I highly recommend a trip to New Zealand! My favorite places are: Queenstown (where you can jetboat and bungee jump), Milford Sound, Queen Charlotte’s Track, Golden Bay and Tasman National Park, Marlborough and Cloudy Bay, and Russell.



Milford Sound

Queen Charlotte’s Track

Golden Bay

Tasman National Park


Cloudy Bay



There is a great show that I recommend: GRAND DESIGNS NZ –


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