Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (384.35 MB)

Uncertain Tides: Anticipating Adaptation to a Changing Coastal Climate

Download (384.35 MB)
posted on 2024-06-15, 01:54 authored by Shashwath Joji

New Zealand’s coastline runs 15,000km, housing many cities and towns along the way. 65% of New Zealanders are living within 5km of the sea and many are threatened by the fast-paced change of sea level rise. Cyclone Gabrielle is recent evidence of this threat and the damage and tragedy it can bring. Over 100 years since colonisation we have slowly taken more and more from the land without any consideration of manaakitanga and balance. Western colonisation and its ‘develop and grow’ approach has made us lose focus on the natural two-way relationship between people and land that is built on the more traditional Māori idea of repayment.

This thesis investigates how architecture can be used to protect, strengthen and future-proof existing infrastructure through the lens of mātauranga Māori in coastal Aotearoa. In doing so we can provide strategies for a response to sea level rise, and possibilities for a more harmonious future between people and land.

To do this, a research-led design approach has been taken, emphasising the use of simulation/modelling and pre-colonial research. The result of this research can be implemented in our coastal areas to improve the balance between human intervention and the natural environment. The architecture and spaces being created show the connection between current infrastructure and the environment as a showcase of utu, which is the exchange “between individuals and groups and all other life forms. Past and present, working towards (an always fragile) equilibrium” (Salmond, 2017, p. 15). Furthermore, the design should enhance and strengthen communal heritage and resilience towards sea level rise.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Marriage, Guy