Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Revealing Taranaki

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posted on 2022-07-28, 03:29 authored by Buhler, Natalie

The concentration of people in urban areas has resulted in a disconnection from the rural community. Cultural landscapes become unused as people visit attractions that are more popular and easier to get to. As a result rural environments are losing identity and biodiversity due to the land use changes. Increasing identity through revealing and enhancing landscape features whilst incorporating culture back into the land is an opportunity waiting to be explored, especially in New Zealand context being a multi-cultural country. This thesis uses Landscape Architecture, in the context of rural landscapes, to create awareness around ‘hidden’ landscape features, through education, social, ecological and economic themes. Landscape features are the important pieces making up a cultural landscape that either the land has made naturally or from human interaction. The majority of people in today’s society will choose to visit commercialised landmarks, bypassing rural landscapes and subsequently fail to interact with the local people and never learn to appreciate what these specific landscape features offer. In order to attract people to the rural landscape this thesis will facilitate interaction and links between the urban and rural community through design. Creating strategic interventions will enhance existing cultural landscapes and increase activity.

This thesis uses Taranaki as a case study to create a design methodology on how to raise a landscapes identity. In order to control the complexity of this region, different processes were used including changing between scales. Cultural landscapes were investigated through a ‘revealing and enhancing’ testing process. Twenty sites were chosen through a synthesis of four different layers which helped to simplify information, these include: Vegetation, Waterbodies, Geomorphology and Access. The revealing process started when peeling back each of the different layers to gain information surrounding each of the twenty sites in order to ‘enhance’ the landscape. These sites were arranged into typologies to see where links between sites could be made. The categories that split the sites into typologies indicate the important values of a site, these include: land ownership, land protection, land use, biophysical elements and cultural elements. One final site was chosen to develop this research problem and enhance, due to the most links between different typologies. This allows the site to become a solid example for the strategic interventions that will be designed.

This method and overall design will give the world a new layer of knowledge about cultural landscapes. The design network that will be made through these twenty sites will strengthen the connection between residents and visitors and break the barrier between public and private ownership. It is a chance to challenge the country’s legislation around the ‘freedom to roam’ concept that we see in other countries, giving people more to see in terms of rural landscapes in New Zealand.


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

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Centre for Biodiversity & Restoration of Ecology; Institute of Geography

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

961202 Rehabilitation of Degraded Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Martinez-Almoyna, Carles