It has been suggested that Aotearoa New Zealand’s designed and cultural landscapes do not reflect its status as a bi- cultural nation. To address this problem, the Landscape Architecture programme at Victoria University of Wellington set up a partnership with Manaaki Taha Moana: Enhancing Coastal Ecosystems for Iwi and Hapū, funded until 2015 by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Wellington. Masters’ students were asked to explore landscape design that would help iwi and hapū envisage ecological restoration or design projects that might enhance connections to their ancestral lands. This research considers the focus groups with students and iwi held after the studio and proposes a strategy for more effective bi- cultural design partnerships, which includes establishment of a protocol with a “research at the interface” approach. Finally, it recommends a number of strategies to better educate students in the responsibilities of designing in a bi- cultural environment and to promote more effective bi- cultural partnerships in the future.