Out of place: Rewriting a landscape signature
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.