Cultural landscapes Print

Design Outcome

​​​Design Checklist​

  • The proposal embraces the Māori cultural values related to Whakapapa and Tohu.
  • The designer engages in understanding the needs, expectations and aspirations of the local community.


The distinctive identity of a particular place results from many factors, including built form, people, activity and history. For Auckland, part of this identity comes from the history and narratives of mana whenua (Māori who have tribal links to Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland). Engagement with these people provides an opportunity to shape our built environment to reflect our particular position as a city in the South Pacific.

Better Design Practice

Engage mana whenua at the beginning of the project for advice on how to appropriately respond to Whakapapa and Tohu.
Views of maunga (mountains) or other sites and landmarks of cultural significance to mana whenua should be treated with respect. In mana whenua cultural traditions Maori names are important, and knowledgeable advice should be sought before employing them in a project.​

Engage with Whakapapa to enhance sense of place connections.
Mana whenua ancestral names can be starting points for exploring and honouring tūpuna, historical narratives and customary practises associated with development sites. This has potential application in naming, signage & wayfinding, but also to inform the design process.

Ensure Iwi / hapū-mandated design professionals and artists are appropriately engaged in such processes.
Uninformed incorporation of names and motifs without a deeper understanding of their meaning and significance will offend the sensibilities of people knowledgeable in their local history and narratives. The principle of Mahi Toi to appropriately express local narratives and culture mean that artists and designers from another rohe would not work locally without being mandated by mana whenua.​

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