Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata, whāia kia mārama!

Let us draw near to the distant horizon so that it may be known and understood!

Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures is an independent, non-partisan think tank and research centre based at Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland with members throughout New Zealand and the world.

We focus on critical long-term national and global challenges arising from rapid and far-reaching social, economic, technological and environmental change.

Our work spans four broad themes:

We ask hard questions, convene conversations, generate ideas and debate, and create knowledge and tools to inform decision making for Aotearoa New Zealand’s long-term future.

Our history

Following a nine-year term as Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister, Distinguished Professor Sir Peter Gluckman saw a need for a greater focus on complex long-term issues facing Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2019, he and his team from the science advisory office set up Koi Tū. Learn more about our staff.

Today we are a research institution and a convener, bringing together diverse viewpoints and facilitating an exchange of views to inspire change.

Our name

Our name, Koi Tū, was gifted by iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. 

Koi is the sharp end of an arrow. Like an arrow, Koi Tū aims to get to the heart of complex long-term issues challenging our future. Koi also means to be bright and clever. 

is to stand, to set in place and implies resilience. The centre is future-focused addressing areas of national and global concern.

Koi Tū colloquially means “sharp as!”

Pepeha (an introduction that establishes identity and heritage)

Ko Maungawhau te maunga

Ko Wai Horotiu te awa

Ko Waitematā te moana

Ko Herald te waka

Ko te tāone o Tāmaki te whenua tuku 

Ko Koi Tū te whare mahi

Nō Aotearoa tātou

Tēnā rā tātou katoa


For democracy to thrive and societies to progress, dialogue and decision-making on complex issues must be informed, inclusive and constructive. Yet, we live in a world where the contest of ideas takes place in an unhealthy environment of misinformation and declining public trust in democratic, scientific and societal institutions. Misinformation distorts the choices we make about the future.

In addition, short-term thinking is rife in policy processes when we most need responses that span a future beyond election cycles. 

How we work

Koi Tū operates at the intersection of academia, civil society and public policy both nationally and internationally. We take a systems-based approach and integrate multiple forms of transdisciplinary knowledge to explore emerging issues.

We use innovative methods to engage policymakers, academia, the business sector and society in conversations on contentious, complex and dynamic public-policy questions. We deal with long-term issues typically left in the too-hard basket of policymaking. 

We produce and synthesise evidence from multiple disciplines and seek new ways to use robust knowledge and deliberation to counter misinformation and declining trust. Learn more about how we work


Tapping into our extensive domestic and international partnerships with science and policy communities, we act as brokers and conduits, helping thought leaders and researchers to engage with the wider community and inform debates. Central to our work is attracting visionaries to engage with thought leaders within the University and society at large. 

We have a strong record of internationally recognised research, extensive domestic and international networks, and experience in brokering science knowledge to governments and society.

Learn more about our collaborations.


We welcome inquiries from students interested in postgraduate studies in the areas and fields including: evidence and expertise in policy making; history and social studies of science; the politics of scientific advice; and public engagement with science and technology.


Although the University of Auckland supports us, philanthropy is the mainstay of our funding. We undertake third-party contracts from government, industry and trusts provided these do not compromise our intellectual independence and trusted non-partisan position. Learn more about how you can support us.

Our Supporters 

Andrew and Elle Grant
Anita Baldauf
Bernard Pesco
Bernard Sabrier
David Levene Foundation
The Gluckman Family
Graeme and Robyn Hart
Gus Fisher Charitable Trust
Kelliher Charitable Trust
Modena Trust
The MSA Trust
Norman Barry Foundation
The Tindall Foundation
The Wright Family Foundation

Whakataukī/Proverb Notes

The whakataukī/proverbs that appear on this website were composed by Koi Tū team member, Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal.

Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata, whāia kia mārama!
Let us draw near to the distant horizon so that it may be known and understood!

This is an adaptation of the well known whakataukī which reads as follows:

            Ko te pae tawhiti, whāia kia tata.

            Ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tina!

            Let us draw near to the distant horizon.

            Let us grasp and hold firmly the near horizon.

Tā te wānanga tāna hua ko te hauora.
The progeny of creative and disciplined thinking is health and wellbeing.

The expression was based upon traditions of the Ngāpuhi whare wānanga shared with Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal by the late Rev Māori Marsden of Te Tai Tokerau (Northland). It states that the key outcome of quality, disciplined and creative thinking is health and wellbeing.

Ka mahi tahi te ohu kanorau, ka kitea ngā hua.
When diverse people work together, much can be gained.

The whakataukī communicates the idea that much value can be created when diverse peoples work together and with common purpose.

Ka taea e te wānanga te āwhina i te iwi.
Critical thinking can help communities and groups considerably.

The way quality thinking enables quality decisions is recognised and acknowledged by diverse cultures and communities throughout the world.

E kōpakina ana te māramatanga ki te kupu kōrero.
Wisdom, understanding and knowledge is carried by words and narratives.

The purpose of knowledge is to create understanding, it is not an end in itself.