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Kia Whakanuia Te Whenua - People Place Landscape

Posted 04 03 2021 by Jan Woodhouse

in News

Hinuera Valley by Pam Gore.
Hinuera Valley by Pam Gore.
Forty different authors contributed articles, including perspectives from Aboriginal, Native American and Irish landscape architects as well as Māori and Pakeha.

Kia Whakanuia te Whenua People Place Landscape was the outcome of an idea formulated by our Trustee, Sam Bourne who postulated that Aotearoa landuse practitioners need a research strategy aimed at identifying critical issues relating to the whenua: so where is research needed and how can it be accessible to everyone - not siloed away?

We held an industry workshop and the book was planned as a step towards Knowledge Hubs for regional research. There was a sense of urgency to take this first step so after sending out a general call for manuscripts, in June 2019 our chair Dr Diane Menzies wrote to more than 70 people inviting contributions to the book.  Diane was determined that the book would be Māori-led. By Māori-led, the inclusion of Māori writers was intended to reflect Māori concepts of land and the idea of partnership, and the book does that.

Our own editor Carolyn Hill read all manuscripts and assembled the contents into a logical progression from exploring Wairua O Te Whenua or the spirit of the land through Pou Herenga - a repository for knowledge - which provides a reference point  for making sure this spirituality is embedded in place through identity and naming. The chapter on Whenua Māori confronts the pain of alienation and whenua loss and how that can be transformed by looking at kaupapa Māori alternatives. Whakarerekē Tāone takes these issues and threads them into thinking about cities in this era of major change. The next chapter - Hikoi Horanuku walks us through the landscape and asks us to understand place – whakapapa/ hikoi/ ancestral knowledge and the critical importance of being on and knowing the land. Whare Pora weaves this all together  by looking at environmental management  and how we might weave mātuaranga Māori into western scientific solutions. The final chapter Whakahāngai puts it into practise exploring how this thinking informs and changes “on the ground” practise. This revealed some gaps in content which was urgently addressed by other helpful writers, and then rounded into the book. Carolyn word smithed each of the individual manuscripts so they link together in an integrated style.

We commissioned publisher Mary Egan Publishing and worked with them to review and edit the articles, sort high resolution photographs and we also commissioned additional photographs, and the fabulous artwork. 

The book is beautifully illustrated with original drawings by Auckland artist Waiari McMillan , with some original photos by Josie McClutchie – a Gisborne-based photographer. However, most of the photographs were supplied by the writers themselves.

Preliminary reviews are very complimentary. Our publisher reports that they have been fielding enquires from libraries anxious to get hold of it and ‘that never has happened before’  

Image: uploads/2020_11/Book-In-Hand-Mockup.jpg
Figure 3 – Leap freely – Wairua heading home to Hawaiki Nui, Hawaki Roa, Hawaiki Panamao
Credit: Alayna Renata
Figure 3 – Leap freely – Wairua heading home to Hawaiki Nui, Hawaki Roa, Hawaiki Panamao Credit: Alayna Renata

Dr Haari Williams who wrote the forward says:
I am in awe as you have all tuned the word into art, into pictures, into a vision, words and pictures that take us outside ourselves, into another time another place and space, into a world that sees ourselves from differing lenses.  Differently.  To dream differently that makes us richer, each of you have taken the word and weaved (whatu weruweru),  made it your own and given it back to us in another shape, in a wayfaring way.


…it’s refreshing to look and listen to Rangatahi Aotearoa espouse advocacy for Te ao Māori and tikanga perspectives in planning, design and architecture.

But he also says:
What Matariki offers us is a way of remembering that predominant Western conceptualisation of the world based on capital and Neolithic ideologies is only one possible way of structuring our societies.  Indigenous cultures remind us that there are numerous other options, other possibilities, other ways of conceptualising, understanding and organising the world we live in, that global destruction is not inevitable. 

Order the book here

NZILA members discount using code: NZILA31


Long Bay, Auckland; the pedestrian bridge network integrates with weir infrastructure.  Credit Sam Gould
Long Bay, Auckland; the pedestrian bridge network integrates with weir infrastructure. Credit Sam Gould