Tāmaki Makaurau design shakes up Auckland

By Ruamano Te Koi

The Māori design team at Auckland Council has just launched the refreshed Te Pokapū Whakatairanga Tikanga Māori, the Māori Design Hub.

The hub will help Māori communities, developers and design educators bring Māori design thinking to the shaping of built environments across the city.

Auckland Council's Māori Design Leader, Phil Wihongi, says Māori design and identity are at the heart of their collective move from Auckland to Tamaki Makaurau.

Wihongi says, “We understand the importance of being able to see identity and culture represented in the living environment and it is something that is not apparent in Tāmaki Makaurau currently.” 

Tamaki herenga waka

TOA Architects founder and director Nick Dalton supported and collaborated with Auckland Council on the Māori infrastructures and designs for the city's landscape.

Dalton shares his experience with the development of the Māori design hub.

“In that journey, Māori are taking a stand and finding pride. It’s imperative for Tāmaki Makaurau as the largest Pacific and Māori city in the world, with 25% of residents under the age of 20, that we see ourselves in our places and spaces,” Dalton says.

Te Wānanga will be a space is to meet, discuss, deliberate and consider. Artists' impression of Te Wānanga. Source: File

The 2020 Māori Design Hub offers fresh Māori design based on two major projects within the Downtown Programme: Te Wānanga (the new downtown public space) and Quay Street enhancements. 

Occupying the meeting point of the city centre and Te Waitematā, reveals important public realm projects that offer a new approach to collaborative design between mana whenua groups, leading Tāmaki Makaurau design practices and the council.

Te Wānanga has been described as learning space focusing on events and hui including Para Kore, raranga and whakairo. It will also be a learning place for sea ecology including mussel ropes and ichthyology.

“I would say that was an immersive experience for us which has allowed us to be new in ways of working that draws on mana whenua mātauranga for our design work. What it has given us is a range of responses,” Wihongi says. 

Te Wānanga is programmed to be complete by February 2021.

Tamaki herenga tāngata

A contemporary Māori housing resource, with inspiration on papakāinga (housing/living on Māori land) and design solutions for urban Māori housing, have been titled Kāinga Hou.

Dalton says the project has a “spine that encourages pōhiri” to occur, meaning it draws on inspiration from traditional Māori dwellings.

Dalton says, “It was about Māori land values to non-Māori lands. Particularly, Auckland  grows into a major city and so the idea of living and community and designs that underpin Māori values such as kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and aroha.” 

Kainga Hou concept design. Source/File

The Māori Design Hub also includes information on Māori housing research, providers, policies and toolkits.