Seeing the cultural landscape

When Auckland Transport consulted iwi at the outset of planning its proposed $40 million Dominion Road upgrade, a collaborative design process evolved that saw the area’s rich cultural heritage woven into the project design.

Five iwi – Te Akitai, Ngāti Tamaoho, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Maru and Ngāti Whatua – came together and agreed an approach to inform the project design. The iwi, together with a group of Māori specialists in stormwater, vegetation and cultural design (Malcolm Paterson, Charmaine Wiapo, Hana Maihi and Lucie Rutherfurd), then worked with the Boffa Miskell urban design and landscape architecture project team.

“We spent a lot time together, walking the site and in workshops, to develop a shared understanding and set of ideas that could give form, convey meaning and show respect to the Māori features, stories and values of the site and surrounding landscape,” recalls Boffa Miskell landscape architect and Auckland Design Leader, Michael Hawes.

“The outcome was a cultural landscape plan.”

Boffa Miskell developed sitewide design strategies under the three themes iwi had identified at their hui: maunga and the surrounding landscape, vegetation, and water.

To demonstrate how the strategies could be implemented, conceptual ‘cultural footprint’ designs were also developed for key places such as the three main villages along Dominion Road, bus interchanges, side streets, parks and thresholds. Traditional designs and stories are referenced in many design elements, and ideas for acknowledging and enhancing the underlying natural environment developed through proposed stream daylighting and widening, stormwater treatment projects, stream restoration and urban wetlands.

Off-road initiatives connecting schools and reserves along the proposed cycleway that will parallel Dominion Road provide opportunities for community engagement in planting for food forests, stormwater quality, habitat and cultural harvest.

Malcolm Paterson, Manager of the Heritage and Resource Management unit for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei says the project was “a wonderful and enjoyable collaboration of iwi with Boffa Miskell and Auckland Transport that empowered mana whenua and sets an exemplar for future engagement.”

For further information please contact Michael Hawes or Rachel de Lambert

25 March 2014