A Pleasurable Methodology: Cultivating with Waiatarua

Bhaveeka Madagammana

Bhaveeka Madagammana Intro
Pleasure overflows through whenua, directing the passions of communities into and out of the earth.

A Pleasurable Methodology is an alternative architectural practice that works by proposing pleasure and whenua, with her ineffable complexities, as ways knowing and living with the earth to create more equitable spaces. Drawings envision a life where communal passions and joys are touched and informed by a completely encompassing living geography. Picnics, gardening, planting, the cultivation and growth of sustenance for future generations occur alongside and is made sustainable by travelling birds and native flora growing in every direction.

This methodology asserts that by following its methods, we can overturn our current geographies and create spaces that listen to the cosmic whakapapa inherent to all whenua of Tāmaki Makaurau.

By 1960 the construction of the Ellerslie Racecourse Grandstand filled Waiatarua with concrete foundations. Waiatarua/Two Songs are ancient subterranean caves that emanated songs between pools of collected rainwater and was once a place of ecological diversity and socio-cultural importance to Māori. This thesis conceptualises that destructive incident as just one of many instances of an extensive architectural colonial methodology that inscribed destructive practices upon the land. Colonial methods have systematically dispossessed Māori of their land, completely transfiguring whenua and producing inequity in issues Māori are more likely to face, such as health and housing. Consequently, this thesis identifies the racecourse as a place of Colonial Pleasure, which is recreational activities that occur at the expense of whenua’s erasure. 

Bhaveeka Madagammana Racecourse
The 1960 Ellerslie Racecourse Grandstand in 2021.

The thesis proposes a new Pleasurable Methodology as an alternative architectural practice that seeks to enact equality between people and ecology. This methodology draws upon established methodologies from Decolonial, counter forensic and Black studies. Pleasure within this methodology is reconstituted as a joyous activity and embodied feeling, a knowledge source, that can rejuvenate contemporary geographies through an engaged intimacy with Tāmaki Makaurau’s whenua and whakapapa. By reconceptualising productions of knowledge to pleasure and whenua, this methodology generates alternative spatial conditions that engender equity through three methods: Listening, Cultivating and Re-programming. These pleasurable methods collaboratively generate living drawings through the assemblages of Waiatarua’s plant litter, with conventional architecture materials such as wire and paper. The resultant architecture is both of and for an alternative Waiatarua, dismantling colonial spatial hierarchies and revitalising the well-being of ecologies and communities that whakapapa to the caves. An enduring harmonious social and cultural bond is formed by the revitalisation, reconnecting Waiatarua to relational fields of maunga and moana that incentivise the collective labour of living with whenua. 

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