Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Relocating Tokelau: Recreating Island Villages in the Urban/Suburban Settings of New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-15, 01:07 authored by Huang, Henry

Many Pacific Island communities face having to leave their homeland to other countries due to effects of climate change, extreme weather events, rising sea levels and the subsequent economic impacts. Tokelau, a country comprised of three small atolls in the South Pacific represents one of these effected communities. The extreme cultural shift from an incredibly isolated and densely populated environment where collective culture, elder governance and multigenerational living thrive, to New Zealand’s capitalist economy and individualistic family living has considerably challenged the traditional Tokelau way of living. The aim of the thesis is to develop a greater understanding of the role that architecture can play in facilitating; successful cultural relocation and preservation, and the strengthening of migrated community groups in foreign contexts. The thesis argues that the essence of a Tokelau village can be captured in the design of a Tokelau community centre in the suburban setting of New Zealand through; understanding and interpreting the culture and lifestyle of the Tokelau community in New Zealand through participatory design; designing hybrid Tokelau architecture which draws from traditional Tokelau construction, contemporary design and the built environment of New Zealand; embodying sociocultural Tokelau principles in design; and lastly, designing resilient community facilities for collective use that accommodate the cultural practices of the Tokelau community and the desires of all age and gender groups.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

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


McIntosh, Jacqueline