Maori architecture firm back in awards shortlist after winning last year

By Muriwai Hei

A Māori-owned architecture firm has been shortlisted for the 2023 NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards for its Te Taumata o Kupe facility at Mahurehure Marae.

TOA Architects is a multi-disciplinary practice that takes a unique approach to architecture. Tangata (people), whenua (land and its history), aroha (heart), and wairua (spirit) are the company values that inspire Tamaki Makaurau Office Architects (TOA), the firm says.

Mahurehure Marae has been serving its community in Point Chevalier for over 50 years and Architects designed its new educational facility and public architecture that allows a multicultural and diverse community to participate in a modern and contemporary space that lives and breathes Te Ao Māori. 

A Facebook post by TOA Architects said, “In all honesty, this project has had blood, sweat, tears, and love poured into it from inception to today. Taumata o Kupe is situated at Te Mahurehure Marae which has created a positive and exciting movement in the community …  We are excited to see this project and kaupapa continue to grow for many many generations to come, which wouldn’t be possible without everyone who has contributed.”

“The space has been used for many gatherings, including hosting the Māori Provider Collective last year to discuss the health reforms and to collectivise our sector strategy and response in the lead-up to the holiday season. “

The 2023 Auckland Architecture Awards have 67 projects shortlisted in 11 different categories, from small project architecture, planning, and urban design, to interior architecture, heritage, and educational projects. 

The winners will be announced on June 8.

 TOA won an Auckland Architecture Award for its Kōtukutuku Kāinga in Ōtara last year. The award citation said the inspirational narratives of the great ancestor Taramainuku, the Manukau Harbour and two waka had, in its Ōtara kāinga, manifested in two broad embracing arms connected by a generous courtyard at ground level.” The two waka Tau Ihu or prow carvings are detached and grounded to become pou forming a gateway anchoring the frontage and place. A Whare Manaaki and community garden sit alongside, ‘steadying the waka’, while offering a trusted meeting space and broader social facilities for inhabitants and the community.”