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posted on 29.09.2021, 02:49 by Clifford, Max

Modern generative and procedural digital tools are beginning to provide a new and previously impossible method of engaging with indigenous design from all parts of the globe. Diverse geometric patterns form the basis of many indigenous art forms, and complex digital design workflows can recreate and extend upon these.

This thesis is centred around traditional Māori arts and, in particular, fabric arts as there is an opportunity for a digital tool to be established that can interact with Māori design in a far more engaging way than previous, default Western architectural design methods. This research forms an argument that modern computation tools and complex digital workflows allow for much-needed engagement, as Māori culture is often misused throughout New Zealand and the wider world.

This thesis seeks to establish an innovative digital tool that can engage with Māori concepts of time and space. From researching Māori culture, it is apparent that Māori architecture is understood in a diametrically opposed way to Western architecture. By exploiting digital tools and modern fabrication methods, Māori understanding of time and space can become the design driver to form a new architectural linguistics that engages, instead of supplants, Māori culture.

Traditional Māori fabric construction techniques were selected for exploration, due to the complex relationship between their structural integrity and intricate decorative beauty. Many fabric techniques have been tested and implemented into the final architectural form that has derived a new ornamental, speculative, architectural language.

The architectural proposals are focused on ephemeral architectural structures based upon two typologies. The first is the traditional Māori hākari stage, a temporary structure erected for major multi-tribe feasts and celebrations throughout pre- and post-contact eras. The research into the hākari stage informs an outcome that analyses the modern fashion show typology. While seemingly opposites, the two typologies have fascinating similarities through their notions of time and space, which creates an exciting framework for new architectural outcomes.


Advisor 1

Kawiti, Derek

Copyright Date


Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture