The School of Architecture and Planning

Digital Archive

Under the Tahuhu: A Language in Reflection of Mātauranga Māori

2020, AD1

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria [My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul]

Through what is defined, the relationships present, and what is assumed, language crafts a lens through which we find meaning in our experience. Te Reo Māori is one such lens reflective of the holistic domains of Māori knowledge, Mātauranga Māori: the distinctly Māori worldview can be read in the relationships within vocabulary, spoken word, and visual language. A comprehension of Te Reo is not only a surface understanding of definitions, but a recognition of its embodiment of Mātauranga Māori.

The language of Architecture too, is a powerful lens. Planes which define clean and unclean, private and public: Architecture, like any language, provides a lens to our experience through which we construct meaning.

An iterative exploration rooted in the wisdom and identities of Ngāpuhi Iwi has driven an intimate exploration of what a distinctly Māori Architecture may be in our contemporary context, given form through the conception of a multigenerational Papakainga within the richness of Kaikohe’s context. Structure as an extrusion of the earth and its Mana Whenua, and the interweaving of Noa and Tapu, become characteristics of a considered language which embodies and enriches the Wairua, Mana, and Mauri of the Whenua and its people.