Sustaining Māori culture through the representation of tribal history in architecture : Tirohia - Te Marae Kārewa
Nicholls, Naeri Robin
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Citation:Nicholls, N.R. (2013). Sustaining Māori culture through the representation of tribal history in architecture : Tirohia - Te Marae Kārewa. This is an unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture Professional.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/2506
This project employs knowledge of tribal history to inform the design of a community at Tirohia, a rural marae belonging to the people of Ngāti Hako in Hauraki. Ngāti Hako have lived in Hauraki for nearly one thousand years and plan to continue to occupy the area for the next thousand years. Ngāti Hako have an interesting history that originally saw them as a prolific tribe throughout the Hauraki rohe (tribal area). They were then diminished and assigned to living in the swamplands. This wet environment and its resources resulted in a different mode of settling and building from that with which we are familiar. In the Hauraki Plains the high water table and propensity for flooding meant that whare could not be semi- subterranean with earth floors, nor could food be stored underground. The people of the Hauraki Plains needed specific responses to their environment. Traditional Hauraki Māori values and attitudes towards the natural environment have a similar purpose to the modern approach to sustainable design and, as such, a contemporary marae community that looks to the past for inspiration must also adopt ‘sustainable solutions’. However, for Māori, the attitude towards the environment is one of obligation by the tangata whenua to take care of the environment, to preserve and protect it not only for the benefit of present and future generations but also to respect the ancestors to whom these resources are linked. Treaty settlements are enabling iwi and hapū around the country to look at developing their marae, whether they are renovating, upgrading, building, or developing papakāinga communities based around their marae. Cost often drives design decisions. This study proposes an argument for considering tribal history in the creation of sustainable marae communities to encourage strong identification with the marae and one’s past. The research question posed is ‘Can architecture through the contemplation and representation of Tribal History, encourage cultural identity, and help to ensure the sustainability of the culture for future generations?’