The Village of the People Stands Night and Day, Guardians of their Ancestors
This thesis looks at the establishment of Maori values within a contemporary, de-colonialised architectural context. Through the 19th and 20th centuries, pre-colonial design archetypes and typologies were unable to modernise with new technologies and instead were replaced with colonial technology and thinking. This was done because of the suppression of Maori and Maori culture and lead to Maori cultural architecture and design that was stuck in traditional context and an identity that was unable to be applied to modern contexts.
To begin, the initial research stages attempt to define a concise set of traditional, pre-colonial Maori design values and a second set of physical observations taken directly from an existing informal settlement that was not subject to colonial governing bodies or establishment. This is an important context as this acts as a decolonialisation element and begins a dialogue into how we form a new cultural identity for Maori built environments. From here the two sets of research are respectfully integrated each other forming a set of design guidelines. Having these values integrated together, the thesis then uses them as a platform for a well-informed piece of Maori Architectural and Urban design located in Rotorua, New Zealand. The purpose of this piece of research is not to create a hard set of guidelines but more to start a dialogue about how we can better inform our cultural architecture in New Zealand and how we can integrate Maori values into more of our architecture as a vehicle for high quality cultural diversity. Beginning this discussion is an acceptance that the suppression of Maori was an unfortunate occurrence of the past that at this point cannot be helped but through dialogue and action, we can look to rekindle the identity that our built environment lost all those years ago.