Between Tai Timu and Tai Pari: Transition to the water through an aptitude of craft.

Waka Picture For Intro
The dominant portrayal of the waka.

This thesis is primarily motivated by the author’s unfamiliarity of the space in-between, exploring the spatial relationship of Oceania through the architectural approach of the waka: an architecture which connects communities to the water.

Between the tides, the littoral threshold of Ohope Spit partially separates the Pacific Ocean from the waters of Ohiwa Harbour. Regarded as ‘the food basket of many hands’, Ohiwa Harbour has been a vital food source for the local iwi since the onset of ancestral waka landings. With the spit’s shifting littoral and plans for commercial fishing in the neighbouring harbour, the presence of this space in-between is diminishing. 

The contact amidst oceanic and inland waters was by the way of the waka. The waka contributed to the daily lives of the community and is recognised for the ancestral voyages to Aotearoa. Ancestral narratives of the waka taua have dominated the understanding of the waka, determined by an interest in grand expressions rather than the daily activities. Consequently, the current architectural response is one of representation and antiquity; identifying the cultural detachment influenced by western perceptions.

Since the landings of the waka, a transition from water to land has required an adaptation of its architecture, for which its hull form was literally inverted to provide shelter. From the waka, traditional Maori structures have adapted their form and timber tectonic. However, the essential understanding of its connection to the water has been overlooked; drawn to the land’s resources and fixed arrangements by settler influencers.

The holistic relationship of Oceania, involves a physical interaction and a spatial connection to the water, the element which binds everything together. Adverse to this consciousness practiced by Maori are the European ideals of marking space: a practice of recording observations to retain knowledge. Resisting a European interpretation, this thesis involves participation in the site, carving and hand-making; physical acts to create a responsive awareness. 

This thesis attends to the local community’s interaction with water: an architectural proposition traversing Ohope spit, to support the relationship between water and its local hands. Identifying that tangible propositions strengthen the connection to Oceania and Mauri, an aptitude of craft was applied. Thus, this thesis asks: how can the architectural approach of the waka transition to a landscape moved by the space in between?

Waka Models
Hand carved models of waka taua and waka tete
Site Plan
Site Plan: Connecting the Pacific to Ohiwa Harbour through the transition across Ohope Spit.
Site Model
Site model
Belly Of Fish
The Belly of the fish
The Catch
The Catch
The Fishery
The Fishery
The Workshop
The Workshop
Models of design