This project began with a simple Master 0f Landscape Architecture studio project in New Zealand, initially considering environmentally degraded and Māori owned land in the north of Wellington. The studio ran for five years and introduced students to the concept of cultural values, from the most sacred or tapu aspects of Māori spirituality to simple acknowledgement of codes of behaviour associated with manaaki, tuku and utu (respect, reciprocity and obligation to the natural world). This was reinforced by the development of a protocol that guided intercultural interactions.
Students designed by discussing cultural areas of inquiry, such as the relationship between phases of the moon and the harvesting of resources, or the ritual bathing or the burial of whenua (placenta) to support the growth of new forest. As students developed a focus toward facilitating cultural practice, the project subsequently evolved into a deeper enquiry into the nature of design-based intercultural partnerships.
This project was awarded the 2015 NZILA Te Karanga o te Tui Award.
Research at the Interface: Bi- cultural studio in New Zealand, a Case Study was published in MAI Journal: A New Zealand Journal of Indigenous Scholarship. Paper The New NZ: methods for reimagining the identity of Aoteoroa NZ was part of the 2014 Venice Architectural Design Research Symposium, and text He Whakawhiti Kōrero: A Conversation about a Collaboration in Art, Design and the Environment was published by Victoria University Press.