He Korowai Aroha Kia Maumahara: The Force of Mana Motuhake

Norton, Rory
Palmer, Fleur
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
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Auckland University of Technology

In an ideal world, every person’s living environment would reflect their identity. We should have autonomy over our homes as we have autonomy over our bodies.

For Māori, wairua and mauri are spiritual concepts that underpin well-being. Sadly, our entrenched capitalist system has encouraged us to commercialise elements of our life source and spirit. However, by listening to and learning from those who have different traditions and values, we can begin to build a better future. This thesis is an exploration of how the mana motuhake of Tangata whenua in Tamaki Makārau and beyond can be utilised to establish better living environments for both Māori and Pākēha.

Our ropū have been given the unique opportunity to engage face-to-face with the Hawke whānau of the Hapū, Ngāti Whāua Ōrākei. By way of challenging Aotearoa’s current standard of housing, we intend to design a whare that embodies the Hawke whānau’s needs and deepest values.

This thesis is based on an extensive co-design process which combines aspects of mātauranga Māori and Western architectural knowledge.

In order to design more holistically, we need to consider the extended life and function of a building and its connection to the past through the whenua it stands on. The outcome is houses or developments that reflect where we have come from, who we are now, and where we are heading.

Alongside our co-design journey, I explore design strategies that allow occupants to have greater autonomy - for example, participatory design features and building versatility. By considering our living environments as a part of us, we can build shelters that restore communities and enable more sustainable lifestyles.

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