Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Te Whare Kōrero

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posted on 2023-07-24, 21:48 authored by Te Maro, Amy

Kia ū ki tou kāwai tīpuna, Kia mātauria ai, I ahu mai koe ihea, e anga ana koe ko hea.

Trace out your ancestral stem, so that it may be known where you come from and where you are going. (He Māori ahau: I am Māori, 2015).

This thesis is a restoration project for myself to reconnect with my cultural identity as an urban Māori. I hope it may also offer value to other urban Māori, especially tauira, to build the courage to explore their Māoritanga throughout their area of work or education.

Identities are the foundations of this research project. I am a descendant of Ngāti Porou, and although this background ultimately underlies everything I make, do, and write, it is not the objective of this research project to be limited to any one iwi perspective. This research project is for all dislocated urban Māori to come together and reconnect with their cultural identity in the urban environment. It is essential to acknowledge the politics that influence culture and the social, multicultural, and colonial forces that construct and change individual cultural identities because Māori culture is highly diverse. While I acknowledge that most interview participants are affiliated with Ngāti Porou and myself, this is due to already established relationships and the given timeframe of a master’s level thesis. The rangahau/research aims to understand the transition to the urban environment through an architectural lens as opposed to visualising Ngāti Porou identity in the urban environment. Everyone perceives identity and architecture differently; this rangahau aims not to make Māori identity seem generalised but rather embrace the commonalities of identity and architecture.

This research project intends to highlight the essence of contemporary Māori identity by unpacking and understanding whakawhanaungatanga through an interior architectural lens. Whakawhanaungatanga is explored through an architectural lens of a design investigation at Papa’s whare/house, 85 Bird Grove in Stokes Valley, a state house style built in 1968. To visualise whakawhanaungatanga within interior architecture, the research project investigates the potential of whakapapa as a method for making and rethinking the way we design a kāinga/home as opposed to a whare. Through layered explorations, “Whakapapa of Potential” concludes an outcome of a nuclear whānau/family domestic interior. The focus is to weave and layer research and design to create spaces for gathering, discussions, learning, engaging and belonging, thus encouraging whakawhanaungatanga.

Along with the academic outcomes of this thesis, I have had the greatest gift of creating and maintaining reciprocal relationships with my whakapapa connections, deepening whanaungatanga.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Interior Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Interior Architecture

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280104 Expanding knowledge in built environment and design; 210899 Te tuku ihotanga me te ahurea Māori kāore anō kia whakarōpūhia i wāhi kē (Māori heritage and culture not elsewhere classified)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Perkins, Natasha