Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Out of place: Rewriting a landscape signature

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posted on 2021-11-22, 22:05 authored by Baker, Alison Leonora

South Wairarapa, in New Zealand’s lower North Island presents an interesting collision; the landscapes forms and features evidence distinct separation between traditional landscape values and recent European economic developments – a separation evident in most New Zealand regions. Combined with its low urban socio-economic outlook and the utilisation of unsustainable farming practices, the region is in decline both ecologically and socially. Near irreversible damage has been done to the landscape. Engineered floodplain manipulation, land clearing, and intensive individualistic farming has resulted in continuing land degradation, flooding, droughts, severe waterway contamination, pollution, and habitat destruction.  Utilising a design led approach in a three-scale investigation with focus assumed on the Ruamahanga River catchment, this thesis investigation explores how designed intervention with regards to the Wairarapa waterway systems can promote a re-emergence of place and placement in Wairarapa to reflect an integrated relationship with the processes of one’s landscape. It discusses how this interaction could be landscape transformative, re-introduce the prosperities of historic Wairarapa, promote sustainable farming practices, and recover declining ecologies. The investigation also discusses the wider New Zealand issue of rural waterway acknowledgement, and its relationship to place, culture, and identity discourse.  This study has been ethically approved. Approval number 22990.


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 Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Marques, Bruno