Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Whakaniko te Tūrangawaewae: Prioritising Papatūānuku to restore and enhance mauri of the environment and its people in a dynamic coastal settlement.

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posted on 2022-09-28, 02:36 authored by Kelland, Zak

Issues such as climate change, colonisation and urbanisation have led to the rapid evolution and, in many cases, degradation of coastal environments. Through a disconnect of people and the environment, issues of water quality, flooding, biodiversity, and a loss of vital natural ecosystems within these coastal environments are allowed to occur. This thesis aims to resolve these issues within the coastal settlement of Piha in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa, through an understanding of te ao Māori, specifically through concepts of tūrangawaewae and the mauri model.

Unsustainable coastal development in Aotearoa is connected to critical issues of climate change, colonisation, and current settlement patterns. It has led to significant problems that affect papatūānuku, local hapū, coastal communities, and the whānau within them. These problems range from the degradation of Papatūānuku, the loss of Māori culture and connection to Whenua, major community issues, and much more. Piha suffers from these issues and has lost some connection to its cultural history, stories and people.

Typically, the design approach to solving these problems lies in a westernised framework that focuses on economic security first and other aspects such as culture, environment, and community after. This is very prevalent across Aotearoa, particularly in coastal areas and is problematic because it disregards the importance of culture, environment, and community and overrules other world views.

Using key concepts of te ao Māori such as pūrākau, mauri and tūrangawaewae, this research aims to reframe, understand and solve these issues at Piha in a way that prioritises papatūānuku and the mauri of her dynamic coastal ecosystems before repairing and enhancing the mauri of the tāngata and the settlement.

Choosing to look conceptual at a portion of the Piha awa, a design using this new design framework will be explored in a way that prioritises Papatūānuku. The final result will be a new form of coastal development that can work within its context. This should then be used as inspiration rather than a guide for other areas around Aotearoa and beyond.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Landscape Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Chanse, Vicoria