Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Decolonising Waters

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posted on 2022-09-28, 22:01 authored by Bracken, Stevie

Clean freshwater is a valued resource worldwide. With the rapid growth of population resulting in extensive urbanisation and climate change, maintenance and access to such a taonga (treasure) is of growing importance.

In Māoridom, the waterways of Aotearoa-New Zealand are considered the bloodlines of Papatūānuku (Earth Mother). The personal connection and well-being of these waterways are of vital importance to the well-being of the people. However, over time traditional tikanga (customs) has become overpowered, and urbanisation has led to severe degradation and pollution.

Furthermore, the existing management of waterways is unnatural, often restricting them with hard edges, straightened channels and monoculture plantings along the banks. Not only does this create issues from an ecological perspective, but it destroys the mauri (life force) and integrity of these ancestral beings.

This thesis aims to investigate Māori narratives, values, and beliefs to inform design-making decisions in stream and public space remediation. The Masterton area, specifically the Makoura stream will be explored as a case study for remediation of the waters and surrounding public space.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Landscape Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

180307 Rehabilitation or conservation of fresh, ground and surface water environments

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Marques, Bruno