Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (88.03 MB)

Restoring Relevance: Interpreting the historic ritual of pilgrimage in New Zealand to restore relevance to theological architecture

Download (88.03 MB)
posted on 2022-03-07, 00:22 authored by Katie-Rose Murphy
In New Zealand’s increasingly secular society, theological architecture has become more and more obsolete. Although certainly still practiced, religion is no longer an integral part of everyday life in New Zealand culture. The church is now but a shadow of its former power and influence. This thesis seeks to reconnect theological architecture in today’s modern New Zealand society by rethinking and challenging the way Catholics can practice, through the design medium of architecture. This research looks at how an element of the old can be taken and reinterpreted to generate the new. This has been tested using the ancient practice of Pilgrimage in the context of New Zealand landscape. The typically arduous and prolonged nature of this sacred journey could offer a different religious experience that doesn’t currently exist in New Zealand. The increased time duration of the journey leads to increased contemplation and anticipation to ultimately lead to a deeper spirituality. The concept of pilgrimage integrates with our New Zealand culture. It parallels in a secular sense with our characteristic New Zealand outdoor hiking and adventurous culture. Taking New Zealand’s beautiful clean green landscape image and framing it in a Catholic setting as the holy land that God created can be a way of applying religious principles to a new setting, one that is more relevant to current society. This concept also draws on human’s natural spiritual connection with nature, highlighting the power of the earths sanctity. This concept has been tested at two different architectural scales, firstly considering the overall route of the pilgrimage and secondly focusing on the culmination site where pilgrimage is also evident within the church building itself.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains All Rights

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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

School of Architecture


Wood, Peter