Advancing the relationships between land, people and culture.

Above A kūmara pit in the kikuyu, on Waiheke Island, Auckland.


Established in 1988, our name references both our Auckland base – between the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea – and our role as connectors. We work as a group, harnessing the depth and breadth of our inter-disciplinary team.

Our projects are driven by a collective passion for place, strong social and environmental agendas and a belief in the importance of ideas. Our work is grounded in Aotearoa and spans coast, country, neighbourhood and city.


We believe in putting people first and building relationships that endure. We take a conscious approach to business, measuring our success in terms of positive effects on community, environment and economy. We are proudly independent; Isthmus is 100% owned and led by designers.

We work with conviction, confidence and humour. We celebrate diverse ideas and ways of working – this is our collective intelligence – but there are certain core values which are carved into our characters. Together they define a distinctive ‘Isthmus attitude’ and influence how we approach everything that we do.

We listen, question and challenge.

We solve problems in imaginative ways.

We design with meaning, purpose and respect.

We get the job done.

Below Isthmus Group in the year of establishment, 1988, on a slope of Maungakiekie or, as it was more commonly known at the time, One Tree Hill. Left to right: Gavin Lister, Michael Jones, David Irwin and Garth Falconer.