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Ōtamahua: The past, the present, the future

Lincoln University School of Landscape Architecture

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  • NZILA Award of Excellence Student — 2022
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Natasha Ryan

The Ōtamahua/Quail Island project displays how New Zealand's Maori and European history can successfully be integrated and displayed throughout the landscape architecture profession. Quail Island will successfully honour the treaty of Waitangi through partnership.The Ōtamahua project restores and revitalises the island’s historical heritage while becoming a resilient and sustainable island which responds to societies future needs.

Ōtamahua/Quail Island is Canterbury's largest island situated in the center of an outstanding landscape known as Te Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour. Lyttelton Harbour is essentially the gateway into the Canterbury Region, being the largest international trade gateway in the South Island; importing and exporting millions of dollars of goods each year. The Ōtamahua/Quail Island project is aligned with the student specific category; and successfully meets the related criteria. The project was produced as part of an accredited landscape architecture program at Lincoln University.

The project was selected and based on my personal research and academic studies throughout this course. The overall project demonstrates complexity in many areas, with the attempt to respond purely to place through the past, present, and future. The project attempts to reveal and display the different eras and activities which come together to form the island's character. The island has a rich history throughout the Te Ao Maori, European Colonisation, Post Colonial Period, and the attempt to create a partnership period through the proposed design.

The project is also based around the significance and influence; designing this landscape to allow further educational opportunities for all users as well as providing insight on what a landscape architect is able to do. The project is an example of how a landscape can successfully exhibit the idea of societies future heritage as well as contributing to the overall ecological management plans.

The Ōtamahua project utilises the location and natural resources of the island to create a well known landscape which represents and symbolises the ecological and cultural heritage of the area. The proposed design would allow greater educational opportunities for many users and provide a further insight into the landscape architecture profession and the capabilities of a professional landscape architect.

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Judges’ Citation:
Ōtamahua / Quail Island, in Lyttelton Harbour is proposed by Natasha Ryan of Lincoln University to be a multi-functional, resilient sanctuary. Her design is to contribute to a healthy harbour and reveal the island’s social history. From mahinga kai gathering to layers of colonial events, the island is envisaged as a shared landscape enhanced by a jetty, tracks, strategic planting for an enhanced ecology, sculpture and eco-lodges.


Natasha Ryan, Lincoln University

External collaborators:
Major Design Tutors / School of Landscape Architecture


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