Makatea: Reconstructing the tourist gaze in Paparoa

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Section through Site One: Nau Mai Pavilion

This thesis explores the role that architecture plays in the construction of the tourist gaze, and how this gaze can be shifted or redefined through architectural intervention to reveal deeper cultural and historical narratives of the landscape. A proposed trail through the Paparoa National Park, as a response to the development of a new 'great walk' through the area, aims to recognise the inherent connection that Maori have with the land through an architecture that celebrates Kaitiakitanga: the guardianship, protection and conservation of the land. 

The 12km trail through traditional Maori travel routes make physical the tracks and marks left by the earliest travellers through the region, and reference the cultural and historical narratives of the people of Ngai Tahu and Ngati Waewae - the tangata whenua of the Paparoa Ranges. A series of installations and shelters along the trail will incorporate Kaitiakitanga values and create spaces which allow visitors to the land to connect with and understand the land in a way that has not yet been available to tourists, both international and from New Zealand.

The romantic view of landscape, rooted in the desire to experience the sublime, has been a consistent agenda of the tourist ever since the birth of modern tourism. Landscape is packaged and distributed to tourists, where their only interaction with natural landscapes is through distant and disconnected observation. The passive act of observation of the landscape in New Zealand has resulted in a constructed ‘tourist gaze’ that is catered for by reproductions of landscape seen in the '100% Pure New Zealand' campaign. 

Facilities and infrastructure that generate and sustain tourism in New Zealand place priority on the viewing or observation of landscape, and as a result, many of the cultural and historical narratives take a back seat to the picturesque scenery that surrounds tourists. 

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Two: Ekehu's Shelter
Overall Site Plan
Plan of Pungungairo - Pororari River Track
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Three: Poutini's Journey
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Four: Nga Tamariki a Tane
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Five: Kaitiaki Nursery