Māori Architect aims to revive māra hūpara

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Environmental planning and design consultancy Boffa Miskell want to revitalise Te Māra Hūpara, or traditional Māori play.

Landscape architect Rangitahi Kawe says there is a distinct difference between māra hūpara and what is commonly referred to as nature play.

“Nature play is where play elements are utilising nature, whether that be trees, logs and rocks for example.

"With māra hūpara, the play elements can come in the form of a pou whenua, specific landmarks, cultural pieces, but the difference is that it brings a deeper meaning to the activity, and the object itself."

Boffa Miskell’s spearheaded a stream restoration project in 2018 that helped with flooding prevention while helping to restore 2km of Wetland in Mt Roskill. 

"And it also restored eight hectares of space for people to walkthrough," says Kawe. 

The mara hūpara at Te Auaunga in Mt Roskill is the first public display in Tāmaki Makarau, and Kawe says it has led to an increased public awareness around Māori play elements, and interest in bringing these indigenous play spaces to more locations across Tāmaki Makaurau and beyond.