Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Te Whakaora i te Whenua Pākaru - Healing the Torn Land

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posted on 2022-08-31, 10:01 authored by Barnett-Bates, Keegan

Heavily reliant on a western use ethic model, the existing landscape paradigm within Aotearoa- New Zealand does a significant disservice to the vibrant Indigenous landscapes present nationwide in terms of culture and ecology. The unique landscape of Aotearoa is one of interwoven culture and physicality, composed of strong narratives with deep links between the intangible and tangible world. However, the disregard of both cultural values and the importance of landscape within Te Ao Māori (The Māori world-view) has resulted in the degradation of the innate mauri of the land, straining relationships between people and their environments, splitting the two into separate and mutually exclusive entities. Exotic tree plantations and pastoral fields dominate the visual landscape with native remnants hidden in reserves away from society, alienated culturally, physically and spiritually.

Current systems of land-use and engagement within Aotearoa follow a traditionally Western system of landscape domination and utilization, series of mono-culture systems that emphasises economic production above ecological integrity and spiritual and cultural health. This thesis interrogates these current modes of interaction and the enforced narrative of landscapes as raw resources active within the Wairarapa through a bi-cultural framework and approach, acknowledging and emphasising the context within which the research is undertaken.

Seeking to re-frame current landscape systems and conceptual approaches, and accentuate the narratives present within the geographic and cultural identity of the Wairarapa, this thesis develops and tests a series of multi-functional systems for use in a tool-box style within a developed bi-cultural framework and context. These systems offer the landscape and its occupants empowerment and agency, facilitating the remediation of human-landscape relationships and the conceptual realignment of nature with culture. Promoting engagement with the landscape in a manner that transcends the physical, this thesis proposes a series of potential interventions that allow the whenua to reclaim its identity and allow for the expression of its intrinsic identity – Healing the Torn Land.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Discipline

Landscape Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

130705 Understanding New Zealand’s past

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Marques, Bruno