Te Pikinga O Tōku Tuakiri: The ascent of self-identity
This research questions whether considering Māori concepts of architecture and space within the design of New Zealand prisons can help in the rehabilitation process of inmates of Māori descent. First, the general concept of prison architecture will be researched. The panopticon as a general diagram as well as specific case studies will frame an understanding of the characteristics of prison architecture in the western sphere. A specific attention to interior architecture will be established. Second, the link between cultural experience and rehabilitation will be distinguished primarily through analysis of Māori Focus Units. Third, the notions of Māori perception and understanding of architectural space will be explored in a general context. More particularly, characteristics of interior architecture will be researched. Fourth, a site will be selected to reflect the contentious issues of incarceration of the Māori population. Matiu/Somes Island, located in the Wellington harbour, is a reflection of historical Māori culture and lifestyles that form a base of beliefs and mythology that modern Māori can identify with. The island itself is a provocation due to its history of incarceration. This thesis is of interior architecture; hence the design will be developed within the constraints of a given architectural envelope. While this is an assumed position, the interior architecture will challenge the given envelope and its contextual site. As a consequence, further interventions into the landscape and the architecture will be developed to sustain the interior architecture here developed. It is anticipated that this research will therefore support the idea that interior architecture of New Zealand prisons must be developed as an integral part of a holistic spatial intervention in view of supporting the rehabilitation process of Māori inmates.