Black Stone : constructing a ni-Vanuatu resistance against kastom loss

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Amanaki, Daniel
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Kaza, Krystina
Francis, Kerry
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Seaside settlement (Port Vila, Vanuatu)
Port Vila, Vanuatu
nakamal (Vanuatu meeting place)
architecture and culture
community centres
cultural identity
architecture and space
Molisa, Grace Mera (1946-2002)
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Amanaki, D. (2019). Black Stone : constructing a ni-Vanuatu resistance against kastom loss. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can ni-Vanuatu resistance against kastom loss be architecturalised through their inherent connection to the land? ABSTRACT: Vanuatu is a nation with relatively newfound independence from British and French colonisation. The unremitting loss of identity and culture in Vanuatu has sparked a strong desire for the protection of kastom; traditional culture. In Vanuatu’s main urban centres, there has been a steady influx of internal migration from regional rural and remote areas resulting in a steady growth in infrastructure and urban development. This urban shift has led to the formation of informal settlements throughout Vanuatu’s urban centres, primarily in Port Vila and Santo. Not dissimilar to urban areas in other countries, these informal settlements have developed and continue to grow. Within Vanuatu’s informal settlements, loss of culture has become more prominent as urban restrictions tend to hinder cultural practices. Ongoing urban development in Port Vila and the introduction of western building technologies and materials suppresses local, traditional building methods and the passing of inter-generational construction knowledge. As a result, there is a fundamental loss of vernacular architecture in its physical form, and in terms of its legacy. This research project builds upon the need and the local desire for a cultural renaissance in Vanuatu and aims to explore acts of cultural resistance through architectural intervention. A secondary aim of this research is to investigate the intrinsic relationship that ni-Vanuatu have with the land, and the ways in which the land has played a key role in shaping ni-Vanuatu identity. The research focuses on kava as a highly significant part of ni-Vanuatu culture that strongly connects people to the land and to cultural traditions. Research methodology involves comprehensive literature review, field research in Vanuatu and an investigation into kava culture and the vernacular architecture of Vanuatu.
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