Whiria te tangata

Kirrily Poliko

1st Year BLA

weave the people

The notion of “Whiria te tangata” drove my design – to weave Māori culture back into the land of Oratia.  Upon discovering and learning about Oratia through site visits and research strong ties became apparent to European Settlement and culture. This was evident in the buildings, and flora and fauna. Less foregrounded was the presence of tangata whenua and the strong connection Māori people once had to the land.
The design attempted to weave Māori culture back into Oratia.  This was achieved by mass planting an iconic plant that was heavily utilised through Māori culture, Phormium tenax/cookanium more commonly known as harakeke.
The Settlers Hall Reserve is characterised by its hilly topography, a perfect environment for harakeke, the planting was positioned along the contours, to help mitigate soil erosion and also to create a natural flow.
I renamed the reserve “Matauranga Reserve” – meaning traditional knowledge. This reflects the design intent as it supports the notion to bring back Māori culture and all some of the traditional knowledge that is tied to it.
Three main elements were designed that mirrored each other. On the east side of the Settlers Hall is a viewing platform and on the west is a weaving whare thatflows onto two other passive spaces.
The significance in having three main elements is to represent the Rito - child and the two Matua - parents that are found at the centre of a harakeke plant. Throughout their life and harvesting these three are untouched to ensure the continued growth of the plant.
This research into Oratia and it’s context ignited the important connection the Indigenous peoplehave with the land, and something as simple as mass planting this iconic plant could have a significant impact within the community, generating knowledge and more importantly recognising the significant Māori culture.


a shared aim

Te Kerekere Roycroft

Ngāpuhi, Ngai Te Wake, Te Mahurehure, Ngāti Korokoro, Ngāti Tarara, Te Pouka,
Ngāti Wharara

2nd Year BLA



Landscapes, both cultural and natural, have the shared aim of conserving what has gone before and, in turn, growing from it.  Sustainability is at the heart of both of these landscapes. The cultural landscape shares a symbiotic relationship with the natural, feeding from it, taking no more than what is needed.  The cultural landscape works with the natural, there is understanding that each element in the system has its own importance.  That the rise and fall of life is as natural as the process itself. The layering of vegetative succession, or generational inheritance and narrative of what has gone by. The land has its own methodology, its own way of doing.  Processes that have developed over thousands of years, building on what has gone before.

It has been a learned behaviour that when we begin in a new area that we must remove what has gone before to begin anew. That has been the only way we can make our mark on the land, is to make that mark wholly ours. A behaviour from a bygone era, where populations coming from across the world meant making the familiar commonplace. Where the ecological and indigenous were a curiosity not a consideration to be accommodated. Familiarity meant the introduction of exotic species that dominate the indigenous.  Where narrative was left as a fire side story, and history began with the landing of the first sailing ships.
We are dependent on our landscapes.  Landscapes that have fed generations of us, we cannot forget how important the natural process is to the resources we enjoy.  That it is thousands of years of natural process that has blessed us with abundance. What we must learn is that we cannot go it alone.  As a species we are not removed from our landscapes, we are a part of them, we come from, grow and return to them. We have begun to appreciate natural wonders for their own sake and not what can be done for us.  

What I now understand through Landscape Architecture is that the narrative is as important as the changes we make, and how those changes affect what is. It is too easily a superficial construct easily thrown aside. Making the spaces we do create a temporary commodity, easily rendered obsolete. For if we don’t wonder about the history of a place and work with it, how would we understand how our spaces have been used. This can be mirrored in the process of the natural landscape, the process of generational succession is the same for people as it is for fauna and flora.  A young seedling grows in the light created from the absence of its predecessor.  The ancestor uses knowledge which is inherited to the next generation. As they pass their works nourish and inform us, show us the path that was laid before us.

Man made landscapes that are a continuation or reflection of a natural landscape show our ability to recognise value.  To recognise that we can and must work with natural process, there are things to learn.  Like the natural sedimentation prevention that takes place in a meandering stream, or the role plants play in clean water filtration. Through our own action we can preserve the self sustainable environments. Environments that evolve independent from our involvement and impact.
What has been de-constructed has returned full circle. The indigenous and the natural have once again become important and intrinsic to what New Zealand is and who we are.  Our point of difference is what makes our spaces unique. What identifies our spaces is us and how we inform design through natural process or pre-existing narrative.


west coast striations

Bela Hinemoa Grimsdale

Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa, Kaitangata

2nd Year BLA


The arrival of European pioneers and settlers into the West Auckland area in the 19th Century made a large physical impact on the Waitakere Ranges. Land was cleared for farming, and trees felled for wood and gum. The once largest Auckland river, The Waitakere River, was dammed for drinking water creating Auckland’s largest wetland now known as the ‘Te Henga wetland’.1
Through my own observations and research often the history of Oratia and wider context of the Waitakere and West Coast area is discussed in direct reference to European settlement. Many significant features such as street names, landmarks, and orchards bare the names of families and cultures that are associated with these settlers. However, the history of the area extends further beyond European settlement to a deep and rich history of the Māori occupation of the land. Māori recognised that the environmental and geological conditions of Oratia were suitable for cultivation and named the place, Oratia - ‘the place where the sun shines brightly.2 Europeans carried on this tradition and developed orchards and vineyards in the area.
The concept of history is less of a singular interpretation but rather the overlaying or layering of histories. To greater or lesser extents these histories can be observed as certain layers are peeled away and others are revealed. These layers are made visible through a process of erosion that reveals the marks and remnants of past activities. Asking questions rather than re-creating. Geologically this process may be described as ‘striations’ in the land. Culturally these are striations of the histories and their marks across the landscape, human impacts cutting into the land leaving permanent marks in the landscape.



Te Kawerau ā Maki, the tangata whenua of the Waitakere area since the early 1600s. Although Te Kawerau ā Maki no longer permanently occupy the land they still hold strong traditional ownership and mana of their ancestral area.3 The Waitakere area is of great importance to the local iwi. In pre-European times the area was intensively settled because of the coastal location and abundant food resources. The cultivation of kumara, taro and gourds, and the close proximity to the sea provided for numerous village sites.4
Fortified Māori settlements known as pā can be recognised by their position within the land and their earthworks which are still often clearly visible. Almost all of the 53 pā sites known in the Waitakere Ranges and West Auckland are located on top of land features that provide excellent natural defences. Many of the islands along the west coast were once used as pā sites and their earthwork remains are still present on Kauwahaia and Ihumoana Islands (Te Henga), Lion rock and Taitomo Island (Piha) and Paratutae (Whatipu).5
Te Kawerau ā Maki have a long and intimate association with the Bethells/ Te Henga/ Waitakere Valley area, which is their most significant area of cultural association in the Waitakere Ranges. Te Kawerau a Maki are the recognised ‘people of this land’. 6
The significance of the Māori place names provides insight to the strong relationships that Te Kawerau ā Maki have upheld with their ancestral land over many centuries. The naming of places describes the topography, the rich resources of the area, important ancestors, events and traditions. The names are landmarks that remind us of the past histories.

Remnants of old pā sites, kainga and cultivations exist within the striations of history asking the user to engage with questions of what has occurred on the land before European settlement. The land itself acknowledges the past, drawing on history, creating an overlay between cultures. Remnants and marks left in the ground from settlement and occupation. Scratching the surface of a deep culture embedded in the land.
The design intention is to recreate the enduring relationships between the tangata whenua which has become less visible over time. Education related to the different overlays of history form a key component of the design decisions. The concept of the Marae is a ceremonial space. The pathways start at the waharoa as you are greeted onto the site. The paths represent a loose weave of cultures, connection, people and land. The representation and remnants of a whare defines an important sacred place within the site. The user visually completes the form and structure from the bones of cultural memory.



According to Māori creation and mythology it was Tāne that pushed his parents apart to create light so plants and animals could grow. After Tāne created food he created man. Tāne felt that man needed knowledge so he climbed the highest staircase to find the 3 baskets (kete) of knowledge.
1.  Te Kete Uruuru tau aronui
Contains wisdom, building, arts and agriculture
2.  Te Kete Uruuru Matua Tuauri
Contains ancient rites and ceremonies
3.  Te Kete Uruuru Rangi Tuatea
Contains knowledge of incantations, war, magic, and the tradition which includes the history of the Māori people
Through design this is depicted as the stepped pattern, Poutama frequently used in Māori design. This can be observed in tukutuku panels, tāniko (bottom of kakahu), piupiu, waist bands, headbands, weaving, whāriki, and kete. Poutama symbolises genealogies and the various levels of learning and intellectual achievement. Some say they represent the steps which Tāne-o-te-Wānanga ascended to the topmost realm in his quest for superior knowledge and religion.7  


sacred landscapes

Natalie Couch

Ngāti Tūwharetoa

3rd Year BLA


How do Māori cultural values inform the design processes for ancestral and cultural landscapes?

This essay explores Māori perspectives of land and how this relationship informs our design and planning processes.  The ideas explored aim to illustrate the importance of expressing our traditional nurturing society through the shaping of our spaces.  As Kawharu conveys, ‘ancestral landscapes provide a platform for fully considering cultural, political and social dimensions of place’   

Two examples are outlined that help to illustrate this;


1.Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, ‘Ko te Pūkākī’ Whenua Rangatira, (Bastion Point.)
The design and implementation process of ‘Ko Te Pūkākī’ at Whenua Rangatira encapsulates the intrinsic values of Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei in relation to health and longevity of land, and people simultaneously.

2.Te Noho Kotahitanga, Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka, Unitec.
Te Noho Kotahitanga, Unitec marae, is an example of a tertiary led initiative that acknowledges the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles.  Through this the integrity and safety of all students and staff are supported.

Whakapapa, whanaungatanga, and kaitiakitanga are concepts that are central to a Māori world view.   These provide insights into the role and relationship between people and the land.  (Jahnke 1997)   The relationship with the earth links back through genealogical lines personified in this expression;
“I ahu mai tātou i a Papatūānuku, whai muri i a ia ko Hineahuone i pokea e Tāne i te one ki Kurawaka”.
We descend from the earth, our ancestress, Hineahuone was moulded by Tane from the sacred red earth at Kurawaka.
This whakapapa (genealogy), signifies the intrinsic connection to the earth and ones place in that relationship.  ‘Land was regarded by Māori as life itself.’ (Jahnke 1997) Māori cosmology and genealogy sees Māori not only ‘as the land’ but ‘of the land’  “ko au te whenua, ko te whenua ko au(I am the land and the land is me). In this, we are teina, the youngest in the conception of the world, with all other beings and elements are our tuakana, older siblings.  All of our familial relationships therefore, extend back to the earth, personified as mother, as illustrated in the whakatauki.
‘Ko te whenua te wai-u mō ngā uri whakatipu.’
Land is allegorized as a woman who sustains her offspring with milk from her breast.  This metaphor highlights the view that woman and land were perceived as fundamental to life. (Jahnke 1997).  These values and practices that are deeply embedded in this connection and reverence for the land.  Papatūānuku is sacred. ‘She has her own spiritual identity, her own life force, her own powerful authenticity.’  (Tuhiwai 2012)
Whakapapa including Papa/kainga, Papa/whenua, and Papa/tuanuku provides a process through which we can engage in a relationship with where we come from- home in a deep sense, and through that process bring it forward in our own processes and broaden it to the world.  Our tipuna had a way of listening and observing the trees, the insects, birds and all the children of Rangi and Papa because they have been here much longer than us, and entering their spaces (their marae) required/s this kind of acknowledgement.  This process was an informant for how they would be in that space.
When the earth and sky were created, Papatūānuku was clothed in a beautiful cloak of forest that would protect her and her offspring.  This is the ultimate design of Papatūānuku, the cosmological patterning that is kaitiakitanga in its essence.
Whenua is the word for land, this further illustrates the personification of Papatūānuku as the source of nourishment and sustenance.  ‘Whenua is also the word for placenta, the source of nourishment when the baby is growing in the womb’. (Barlow 1991) When the child is born, the placenta is ceremoniously buried in a special place, as a sign that they will continue to be nourished by Papatūānuku in life.  ‘This act affirms the childs’ genealogical union with the land-whenua as tāngata whenua’. (Pere 1982, 1990)

Tino rangatiratanga is founded in the realities of whanaungatanga (relationships), whakapapa (connections to Rangi and Papa through ancestral lines), and kaitiakitanga that stem from a deep relationship with sacred and ancestral landscapes.  Of paramount significance, is the responsibility to care for the environment as kaitiaki (custodians) for past, present, and future generations.  We do not own the land but are of the land; the land and the wairua of Papatūānuku is as much an element within (the human person) as it is the external environment (Kereopa 2003).  We share the same heartbeat.  Kaitiakitanga, therefore, is part of reciprocal relationship developed from birth, it forms an integral part of human subsistence.  Care and respect for the earth is essentially care and respect for oneself.
‘Rewriting and re-righting our position in history fills a very powerful need to restore a spirit, to bring back into existence a world fragmented and dying’.  (Tuhiwai 2012).  It is important that this cosmological narrative or patterning is acknowledged as a legitimate part of our design processes.  In this is the acknowledgement of the fourth article of Te Tiriti, and the assertion of Rangatiratanga in the Declaration of Independence as a significant part of our collective story.  As written in article 4 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi- spiritual freedom was to be protected.  The sacred rights of Papatūānuku, Ranginui and their spiritual integrity was paramount.  Respect for tangata whenua and the importance of giving space and time for dialogue with mana whenua when making decisions about any part of our landscapes is an important part of this process.  Implementation of tikanga runs parallel to the restoration of mauri and regeneration of natural systems within landscapes and all living beings connected to them.  
The following examples show how whakapapaand whanaungatanga (familial relationships) informs design methodologies for ancestral and cultural landscapes.
Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, Whenua Rangatira (Chiefly land)


History and background:
Under the Ōrakei Act 1991, 48.16 hectares (Whenua Rangatira) was returned to Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei.  The Act established that kaitiakitanga must be recognised, and the land be maintained to an ecological standard.  The whanau wanted the return of native forestfor cultural harvest, food, and medicine.  Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei are currently facilitating the restoration of their ancestral lands at Takaparawhau (Bastion Point).  Over the last 15 years 10,000-15,000 plants a year have been planted through the Ko Te Pūkākī programme.  This is a community restoration project that enhances family connections, wider community relationships with one another and the landscape simultaneously.
This process of regeneration sits alongside the papakāinga development that is being lead by hapū.  Mātauranga Māori principles guide this process and were identified in wānanga, hui and workshops with hapū members.  Decisions for the papakāinga were made by hapū members with broad guidelines given by facilitators on issues relating to Ōrākei.  Conceptual designs were drawn up with the assistance of the architect.  Many of these concepts were pertaining to landscape features and the enhancement that these give to quality of life.  
Kaupapa -principles:

To encourage a sense of unity in the community.  This includes an amphitheatre that enables the hapu to gather and celebrate their unique tribal identity.  Kotahitanga or a ‘coming together’ is also achieved through the processes of environmental restoration.
Emotional connection to the environment.  The orientation of the papakāinga captures the views of significant cultural landmarks, community access to marae, kohanga reo, kaumatua flats, and urupa is maintained; traditional place names are restored.
Hospitality given to visitors, community security is ensured.  Traditional medicine (rongoaa) and kai gardens are restored, and the traditional palisade style is used to enhance community security
Community participation and membership is fostered.  Communal facilities, open reserves, communal gardens, common spaces all reflect local identity.
Protection of significant landscape features.  On-site water management systems are used, recognition and protection of spiritual guardians, restoration of waterways and natural areas, communal reserves and natural environments are utilized by community living in higher density.  
Community takes the lead and responsibility in determining their own future.  Live and work from home, mix use high-density living environments, heritage markers (pou).


The master plan developed by the Trust board adopts sustainable urban design principles that support hapu aspirations for economic, environmental and spiritual well -being of its members.  It is to be revised every 5 years to ensure that it is still meeting with hapū aspirations.  Features include: whenua rangatira- the open space where the native forest and streams are restored; appropriate buildings which could include ecological, eco-tourism, sports and leisure, or cultural centres;  hapu housing is designed in a way that enables for around 6,000 whānau to eventually live on the papakāinga.
Three additional principles were identified by Awatere et al. (2008)

The essence or life force of a natural environment (Barlow, 1991; Mead, 2003).  

At Ōrakei this is carried out by identifying and upholding the maintenance or renewal of mauri.  This is being done in various ways including swales, rain-tanks, passive solar design systems, and grey-water recyclers.
Sustainment of community health and well-being.  
The aim is to promote the protection of the environment, and safety of the community.  This includes restoration projects, ensuring the protection of and community access to traditional natural resources (e.g harakeke, tuna, waterways); encouraged use of walking, cycling paths by improved links between spaces, use of indigenous flora (public and private), and reliable public transport systems.
Tribal history, character and identity is understood.  
Knowledge is shared in an experiential manner which broadens understanding of tribal histories.  This includes initiatives such as educational and environmental programmes, heritage markers (pou), and heritage trails.


The processes involved in this project connect people to place. The design is the act of kaitiakitanga in its true sense- in this case, the return of the korowai (the rich and diverse ecosystems) that breathe life into that space and improve health and well-being of its people.  The uplifting of mauri and nurturing of relationships are integral design drivers.
“The tūpuna have walked the path before us, their footprints tell a story, and we can sustain the environment and the well-being of our people by tracing these footprints once more and uplifting them into a contemporary context...... This methodology is embedded in the concept of belonging and being of a place.” (Badham 2011)


The second example ‘Te Noho Kotahitanga’ is an urban based marae situated within Unitec Institute of Technology, Mount Albert. ‘This marae was the result of a partnership document called ‘Te Noho Kotahitanga’ established in 2001 to voice Unitec’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.  It supports Unitec’s desire of honouring the treaty and implementing bi-cultural education within its research and teaching.
The lines between Landscape Architecture and Architecture become blurred when the buildings are very much synonymous with the land.  Te Noho Kotahitanga marae is the first in almost a century that has been built in the more traditional manner.  When master carver, Lionel Grant, began the design process for the whare, he went up above to get a birds eye view of the landscape.  In his observation he saw the form of a manaia (a bird-like figure/ spiritual guardian) in the land signifying the design layout of the buildings.  
At this time, Puukenga was already there- built using affordable materials in 1993 by students as a student initiated project with the architect, Rewi Thompson.  It initially housed the Māori School of Education which was disestablished in 2006 and became the student support center that it is today.  Te reo Māori and weaving classes were then dispersed into other areas within Unitec.  Alongside Puukenga, Ngākau Mahaki (the meeting house), and Manaaki (the dining hall) form the manaia (spiritual guardian) connecting the elements. The marae atea being the tongue,  Ngākau Mahaki the head, Manaaki the stomach and Puukenga the hips down.  


Rangimarie (the pa harakeke) is named after the first weaver to koha (gift) a plant, Rangimarie Hetet. Following this, different varieties were gifted from iwi around the motu.  This pa harakeke is a living taonga with diverse harakeke varieties gifted by some of Aotearoa’s finest tohunga raranga (master weavers). Te Inu Roa o Wairaka (The long drink of Wairaka) is a fresh water spring named after Wairaka (the ancestress of the Mataatua waka).  On her travels, Wairaka became thirsty and stamped her foot into the ground in order to quench her thirst.  As a result, water burst forth creating this spring today which has become highly valued for ceremony, healing and blessing.  Traditionally it was a constant source of food, irrigation, and a place for bathing.
This place is a storehouse of local and historical knowledge, a meeting place for ceremonial and celebratory gatherings, and the heart of teaching and learning about te ao Māori.  


The founding principles of Te Noho Kotahitanga are:

Rangatiratanga-Authority and Responsibility
Unitec accepts that Maori have responsibility for and authority over all teaching and learning of Matauranga Maori.
Wakaritenga- Legitimacy
Each partner has the legitimate right to be here, to express themselves freely in either language, and to make accessible the use of its resources for the benefit of all.
Unitec acknowledges its responsibility as an essential guardian of knowledge.
Mahi kotahitanga-Co-operation
Unitec asserts that generosity and co-operation will be the founding intentions behind its actions.
Each partners’ heritage and customs, current needs and future aspirations are valued by Unitec.  Māori and Pākehā work together within Unitec.


The aim of this project was to look at how our connection to land influences a way of being and how this contributes to the shaping of our processes in Landscape Architecture.    Two projects were examined which illustrate how Māori values and tikanga have been an intrinsic part of their planning and design processes and how these values benefit the whole community.  A focus was to explore relationships between our narratives, natural processes and patterns and their interconnection with kaitiakitanga and design.  ‘I nga wa o mua’ expresses that in order to go forward, I must understand my past.  To enable a sustainable future we must bring back the traditional nurturing society that sustained us.
As Tāne sought the place to fashion his hoa rangatira (partner), Hine ahu one, from the body of his mother, he was guided by Papatūānuku to the sacred red earth at Kurawaka.  This paradigm demonstrates a collaborative process between Papatūānuku and her offspring.  The relationship with land brought about the shaping of the human body and place simultaneously.  Whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga principles acknowledge that the places and spaces within land,air,water-scapes, of both Rangi and Papa are all sacred, and are as much a part of us, as we are of them.  Our original, and the ultimate rain-gardens, recycling systems, food cupboards, medicine cabinets, learning and play spaces, and transport routes are all housed in the forests, rivers, and oceans- the vital organs of Papatūānuku.  We don’t need to redesign these systems, they are already the ultimate design. They have their own inherent spiritual validity that is deeply connected to our collective identity and well-being.  


the passing of knowledge

Glen Ridley

3rd Year BLA



A vision was shared by Ngāti Korokī Kahukura with the Unitec students who would complete the plans in creating a sustainable environment with the means to protect, restore and enhance their own landscape narrative. This vision provided an opportunity to work alongside a culture that has formed an intimate relationship with the landscape over generations. The aim was to produce a concept that harnessed the ecological and cultural restoration of the sacred puna - spring and stream which connects to the Tūpuna Awa - Waikato River to the marae. This approach not only had aspirations to reflect the intimate relationship tangata whenua have with the land but also recognised the importance of forming an intergenerational landscape that promotes the values of kaitiakitanga.
Limited funding in acquiring the surrounding landscape once held under Ngāti Korokī Kahukura placed significance in attaining particular parts of the landscape over others. Project 1 comprised of an analysis at a regional scale to realise opportunities present when acquiring land for economic gains and at the same time attempted to draw out the values of kaitiakitanga.  Identifying the historical relationship maintained between Mt Maungatautari, Tūpuna Awa and Ngāti Korokī Kahukura promoted the importance of re-purposing parts of the landscape to endorse values recognized through kaitiakitanga. This would influence placement when establishing ecological restoration sites when the property was acquired.

Through Project 1 a cultural theme had emerged, providing a direction for projects 2 & 3; Hauora. This concept is based on a whare, all four walls of a whare represent all four dimensions of Hauora, since they influence and support the other and do not function in isolation. The four dimensions identified are Taha Tinana - Physical Well-Being, Taha Hinengaro - Mental and Emotional Well-Being, Taha Whanau - Social Well-Being and Taha Wairua - Spiritual well-being. This formed the a base of the conceptual idea and the strategy plan has been adapted to be more specific to Papatuanuku, the land, the mother of all things, who nourishes all life. She is the foundation, She is the physical and spiritual basis of life, Her well-being is important.


The four features identified within Hauora had been adapted to reflect those values influencing the outcome of the final project.

 Taha Tinana - physical: Economic Well-Being

The long term goal of having a diversified type of economy for Pohara Marae forms a sustainable future that isn’t solely relying on dairy and small pockets of short-rotational crops currently occupying the surrounding landscape. This is achieved through planting 400 fruit trees, harvesting existing pine nuts and establishing a flax plantation that is farmed for weaving.
Taha Hinengaro - mental & emotional: Hydrological well-being

The restoration of the existing waterway through riparian planting, restoring a once thriving eco-system. This will restore an environment favourable for the treasured eel
 Taha Whanau - social: Ecological well-being

Re-vegetation of surrounding hillsides, providing bank stabilization and reducing sedimentation into the stream and Waikato River. This action will influence an increase in biodiversity within the local environment.
Taha Wairua - spiritual: Cultural well-being

Looking at the essence of the landscape and using the value of views to influence placement of a viewing platform atop the surrounding cliffs and a line of sight that runs parallel with the meeting house and point of welcoming.


pohara development strategy

Nick Slattery

3rd Year BLA


A Journey through a landscapes well-being

Nestled amongst the foothills of Maungatauturi, Pohara Marae links the wider connections of the Waikato, Kaipiro, Awapuni, Cambridge and further afield, Raglan.  The landscape is a spectacular snapshot of the influence of volcanic activity from Lake Taupo (Mt Taupo at the time), Mangakino and erosional scaring of the Waikato River. Land production in the early 1800’s depleted the native vegetation of the landscape and culture and heritage was becoming lost in European, economic power. The overall brief of the Studio project was to protect, restore and recreate a landscape that reflects the narrative of the Ngati Koroki Kahukura people. Split into 3 projects, starting at a broad scale down to particular design features, the goal was to incorporate the brief in all design moves. Hauora was the concept that was applied to the work, encompassing the spiritual, social, physical and the emotional .


One key requirement was to protect the sensitivity of the local Puna, which lies to the North West of the Marae. The proposed design saw a native designed board-walk reflecting the surrounding Phormium, mimicking the stream beneath, leading towards the Puna. The decking boards were placed in a hatched manner, weaving its way along the elevated bridge. Meandering tracks lay adjacent to this board-walk however, where used as a guideline and promoted self-discovery, capturing one’s own image of the landscape.
The second requirement was to promote re-vegetation of the surrounding landscape and provide a corridor to the local Maunga. This was proposed through an education forest which started with a comprehensive understanding of hydrology, plant growth, avian relationships and flora species that held value to the iwi. Overall, this created protection from surrounding land production and a process of filtration and direction that protect the new narrative of Pohara.


solar urbanism

Luke Veldhuizen

4th Year BLA



Could a future Wynyard Point prove to be an effective and compelling staging ground to host varied temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent installations, both exotic and indigenous, of local, national, and international origin?
Extending into the Waitemata, the future development of Wynyard Point has some approximately 40,000 square metres currently provisioned for park space, which naturally leads to asking how or what might go there?
Over the last year I have been looking at the whole future Wynyard Point in terms of solar regimes, generating geometries and distributions based on their resulting microclimatic results and including massing morphologies, growing canopy structures, and ground-plane pattern variations.
To the north the expanse of indicated green presents us with options. Looking into the geometries of motion we see wide arcing patterns in the hourly, daily, seasonal, and annual voyage of our sun, what someone once summed as “Motion with shadows and shafts of light oscillating over time”. Further investigation led to using these moving shafts of light and shade in micro-climatically considering the public realm. Through careful distribution of installations and structures, and a thorough examination of where shadows, hotspots, and micro-climatic conditions lie, other elements can be arranged, for example seating in both shaded and sunny spaces, and the optimised location of plant species. The intention of this distribution being the resulting multiple paths connecting pockets of spaces as flat lawn, sophisticated mounds, rain-garden vegetation, shading trees, and installations; a non-linear landscape is created through the diffused vectors of horizontal movement through a continuous and patched surface.


And from this surface? Views to some of the our most iconic, beloved, and revered cultural landmarks. The Auckland harbour bridge to the North-West arcing into the city, and to the North-East Rangitoto itself looming large in perspective above Devonport. Views with stories of history past, views of infrastructure and progress, a city skyline, an isthmus of cones. A city where clay and steel intersect, where stone, timber, and water meet with concrete, glass, and movement.
Who might we expect could benefit from such a series of installations or events? Everyone. From international visitors to local inhabitants, those from wider Auckland to those from wider New Zealand. In creating a destination, itself one where some of its parts change over time, we have a dynamic focal point for voices and stories to be told. Both at once an economic driver as a destination and as a showcase to the world of māori and indigenous design, their stories and artistic representation. A jewel in the crown of the Auckland waterfront.
In thinking about these ideas together with Divergence: defining difference through design, it could be argued Wynyard Point is the perfect Auckland location as a landscape for the interconnected stories of the people are told through art, woven throughout the park, each connected to one another, all offering viewpoints through various lenses of representation. Art is a reflection of who we are as a people, all of us western and indigenous, with those stylistic differences at once defining and articulating what is design all the more sharply.


Suburban Stream Restoration

Sofia Fourman

4th Year BLA



Enriching the Approach


Streams that weave between developed areas are often neglected and polluted. It is overlooked that these sensitive environments are habitats for a variety of wildlife and urbanisation is putting increasing pressure on these ecologies. Swanson Stream bisects the suburbs of Henderson and Massey in West Auckland and is part of the large-scale stream restoration incentive; Project Twin Streams, which focuses on restoring the local health of the stream through community effort by increasing riparian cover. However with over 12 years of riparian enhancement there has been no significant improvement in stream health. Local streams continue to be seen as waste conduits. Dense riparian vegetation can also isolate the streams from the public open spaces through which they flow, further disconnecting the streams from the local community. So perhaps the traditional approach to stream restoration of increasing vegetation density in riparian margins alone cannot stand up to the pressures of urbanisation. This project aims to explore how current stream restoration techniques can be strengthened by an exploration into biomimicry and keying into social networks.

Biomimesis aims to find time-tested solutions to human challenges, by analysing how nature has dealt with them, providing the potential to re-think stream restoration techniques. A biomimetic approach seeks to devise solutions based on naturally occurring systems and processes; challenging human interventions to be integrated into the ecosystem. It promises a more sustainable future; efficient use of resources and the potential to change the approach to design. However the concept contrasts humanity with nature, often excluding “human nature” from the solution, resulting in interventions that do not reflect human culture. Landscape Architecture, a field that deals directly with landscape and people has the potential to bridge the gap between biomimicry and humanity by integrating “human nature”, thus facilitating the human aspect within biomimetic design.

Biomimicry as an approach to design, combined with an exploration of social networks, community needs and perceptions, provides the capacity to explore design responses that achieve both ecological and social functions; taking inspiration from the natural world and keying into human nature; the needs, the history and the cultures of the local people. Through localised interventions that reflect the community and the history of the landscape while enhancing the existing ecology, a biomimetic solution has the means to reconnect people with nature through restoration efforts.

Woodside Reserve and Helena Park, bordering Swanson Stream, were the sites chosen to explore these opportunities. Tucked away from the road, the spaces host a community garden and waterhole, both underutilized, both with potential for greater community engagement. The space is proposed to be a community attraction, an escape and a productive landscape.  How can biomimesis help strengthen current stream restoration methods and serve as a tool to bring people into the space, engage with it and care for it?

Polluted stormwater runoff discharged directly into the stream and rubbish dumping are the key issues that affect the health of these waterways and surrounding environment. The design approach aims to increase public awareness and suggest interventions that directly target pollutants entering these waterways. Waterborne pollutants in the stream are addressed through floating vegetation islands with plants that absorb contaminants. Stormwater drains are daylighted and water is redirected through the site via phytoremediation gardens, filtering water through plant uptake by manuka, sunflowers and carex, before it is further and finally filtered at the riparian margins.

The project aims to reconnect people with the stream by providing a community destination around the existing waterhole and community gardens, improving and enhancing access to these areas. It is designed to provide a community attraction with aims of changing the community’s perception of the stream environment; discouraging rubbish dumping and encouraging interaction. Access to the waterhole has been created with space to swim, sit or observe.
Biomimesis, an example of divergent thinking, opens up a multitude of innovative response ideas inspired by the natural world, but with an addition of “human nature” has the potential to fulfil both ecological and social functions, striving to be the design approach of the future.

Re-Thinking Suburban Public Open Space

Gabrielle Howdle

4th Year BLA



Emergent culture, design, mana, history; and the foundations that they help create to allow for divergent thinking. Traditionally landscape design has accommodated to the conventional, the conservative and the conformed, often ignoring the deeper meanings and importance written into landscapes over time - as people come, go, settle and explore. Subsequently somewhere along the line we agreed that this was what New Zealand culture summated to, a collection of ‘traditional-shaped’ parks and open spaces, which at the surface hold little contextual meaning, relevance or value. However glimmers of divergent design, indigenous interpretation and unique projects appear within New Zealand; places like Orongo Station in Poverty Bay, or the recently constructed Kopupaka Park in the developing North West shopping precinct, both initiating themselves into indigenous and divergent design.
The challenge arises when a landscape is affluent in its history and diverse in its cultural palette. How can one landscape reflect the relationship with its indigenous culture and its adopted culture, both rich in significance and importance? Undeniably this is bound to occur in a country with a rich diversity in cultures, especially in places that are valued for their unique landscape qualities. Therefore how can places such as these evolve to become more viable, valuable and culturally dexterous?

With the planning of intensification of suburban areas, the dynamics of suburban life are changing and evolving, and therefore so is the way people occupy, use and appreciate public open space within their suburbs. The idea that an urban space can reflect its historical value and cultural sensitivities but suburban spaces must conform to suburban needs has meant that suburban parks are perhaps not evolving, changing and pushing the boundaries of design as well as could be; and are thus being overlooked. The exploration of public open space established that there was a lack of quality and viable public open spaces within the suburbs, where 30% of spaces are Recreational Facilities, another 30% are dedicated to pocket parks, and that open spaces makes up about 12%; predominately these are all open spaces. Knowing that these spaces are integral places within suburban communities, the notion that they are undervalued and underutilised is perplexing. Therefore, how can landscape architects help to create more meaningful spaces in our suburbs?

It starts with respecting the history and form of the landscape, understanding the affect it has had upon its people, and the effect the people have had on the place. Harold Moody Recreation Ground within Glen Eden boasts cultural diversity, with a history of indigenous and Dalmatian cultures; both recognising the value of the land for its agricultural values. Both parties contributed to the history of the site and its contextual surroundings, with families and communities settling within Glen Eden as the Indigenous grew crops, subsequent with the Dalmatian’s establishing orchards. This is where the project finds its footing, balancing the sites rich cultural and historical foundations, with the current needs of the ever-growing community.
The project itself strives to be a suburban park with purpose, connections, history, and aesthetics that have the potential to create a dynamic, viable and valuable public open space network within Glen Eden.

The design aims to create a central open space- to which auxiliary public open spaces build upon, which are dynamic, loose-fit and allow for informal and formal uses. This is achieved through bold moves and large spaces. The space retains its current sports orientated foundation, and builds upon this with heritage species orchards, stormwater control through intensive planting, stream restoration, and community event space for markets, gala’s, and other organised activities.
The design is an example of how a site can begin to blend two cultures whilst being divergent in its design. The design expresses large forms, expressive angles and strict landscape changes, which are diverse, dynamic and diverge from the traditional design characteristics found in suburban parks.
The space in turn tries to find the balance between divergence and convergence; stitching the sites rich and evolving history into a design, which clearly illuminates the different and similar effects the people had upon this place. The site layers the needs of the people, the place, the history, and the surrounding public open spaces, which allows for a network to be formed; the needs and the values of all the sites within the open space network benefit and enhance the value to the community; weaved together with the fronds of seeds planted by both indigenous and exotic peoples.

The Green Arena

Brooke Foley

4th Year BLA



the design of landscapes can facilitate healthy communities


In particular with interest in the suburb of Glen Innes. The goal of this negotiated study is to provide a space that will educate and enhance the health and wellbeing of Glen Innes and the wider community through landscape architecture. Through theoretical analysis I found there are people that will always spend time outdoors and exercise and there are some people that never will, however there is a large proportion of people in between and our healthy designed landscapes should be focused towards them. This portion of the community that have habits that can be swayed quite easily; changes just need to be provided in order to encourage an adjustment to their daily habits. Throughout this design process I have looked into Te Aranga Māori Design Principles to explore indigenous issues and the relationship held between culture and landscape, I have thoroughly considered these principles when looking at plant species, creating view shafts, and contacting Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei regarding my work.

I have begun to investigate 16A Rowena Crescent in Glen Innes, a site within the Tamaki precinct. The site is owned by Ngāti Whātua and was formally Tamaki Girls College. 16a Rowena Crescent has an immediate impact on most maps, with it being next to Omaru Stream, which is not only a significant ecological corridor but is also a substantial water system, the stream also has huge significance to the mana whenua in the area.
This design consists of three areas that promote heath and wellbeing, the creative play area (pink), the active recreation area (blue) and the edible and medicinal vegetated hill. I have ensured my site is well connected to the wider landscape with key entry points following on from existing flow paths.  The main path through the site has been established to connect with the existing walkway from Wimbledon reserve to Taniwha Street, and through to Maybury Reserve.  Another key entry point is from the existing pedestrian crossing on the east side of the site.
The roundabout in the North Eastern corner provides a great view and visual connection point to the site and will help to draw people in. This project highlights the importance of how landscapes can be beneficial to a community and have a positive impact to their health and wellbeing, while also connecting to, and enhancing the wider landscape through cultural connections.



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