Whakapapa o te ngāhere : an explorative discussion and process of understanding ecological and cultural fragmentation : an exegesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design, Massey University, Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa, Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

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Ko te Whakapapa o te ngāhere, is an explorative discussion and process of understanding ecological and cultural fragmentation through kōrero, hīkoi (Smith, 1999; Smith, 2017) and spatial design. Over the young colonial history of Aotearoa, rapid deforestation, land alienation and land alteration has significantly changed the whenua (land) and the relationship between tāngata (people), rākau (plants & trees) and the ngāhere (forest) that once cloaked Māori lands. Through a cross-institutional and multi-disciplinary collaboration between the Te Herenga Waka Centre for Science in Society and Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa College of Creative Arts, this project expands ways of communicating the embedded values and relationships between native rākau, tāngata and whenua within the rohe (region) of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ōtaki. Guided by the overarching principle of whakapapa we acknowledge that this relationship extends beyond rākau to the pre-colonial whenua, dominant with puna wai Māori (freshwater systems) and kōreporepo ngāhere (swamp forest). The first sections; ko wai au and kupu whakapuaki work to locate myself, the team and the conception of the wider project. Out of the process of centering whanaungatanga, hīkoi and kōrero of past and future visions arose the spatial design themes of visualisation, immersion and experience. These forms have come together through an installation that will guide people through an immersive visual karakia that expresses whakapapa and mauri, preceding a series of visualisations that represent three familiar sites within Ōtaki that connect wai and rākau. The purpose is to evoke people to whakarongo (listen and feel) and kōrero (discuss).
Māori Masters Thesis