Te Ao Māori and Tikanga reflected in new landscaping design

1 May 2024

An artist's impression from St Andrew's College's new landscaping design.

REGULUS // ISSUE 1 // MAY 2024

The sympathetic blending of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Scottish heritage with recognition of mana whenua in the College’s Cultural Narrative, has been visually reflected in the new landscape design for the new Ngā Toi – Performing Arts Centre and the wider campus, says Rector, Christine Leighton.

“We worked closely with Danny Kamo (OC 1991) director of Kamo Marsh Landscape Architects, on the landscape design which is a harmonious merging of Scottish and Māori cultures, and explores various means of expression, including weaving in Te Ao Māori and Tikanga principles.”

The general process of mihi whakatau or welcoming manuhiri (visitors) to the College; wayfinding (how people find their way around the College); St Andrew’s gathering places and recognising the traditional use of the site for Mahinga kai (food gathering) were all key considerations of the design.

Highlights include significant new native plantings, new seating and sculptures, and the incorporation of a range of mahi toi (artistic works) into the existing built landscape.

These include kōwhaiwhai patterns used in Māori carving and art, and tāniko patterns, traditionally used to form the borders of cloaks, which have been specially created for St Andrew’s College, representing its whakapapa, culture, and the whenua. These designs will feature on paving, building walls, posts, and seats around the College, with whariki mat designs also used to decorate paving.

Another special feature is the stunning ornamental latticework pattern in tukutuku style, on the windows of the new Cafeteria. The design is also unique to the College, featuring the St Andrew’s cross and traditional Māori elements.

Ornamental latticework pattern in tukutuku style on the windows of St Andrew's College's new cafeteria, featuring the St Andrew's cross and traditional Māori elements.Danny Kamo says it has been a privilege to work alongside Christine and her team to develop a cultural masterplan for the campus. “We worked with the College’s Cultural Narrative and considered the various current and proposed Māori processes and teachings such as mihi whakatau, or welcomings, and Hangi. It was important to acknowledge where the St Andrew’s campus sits in this whenua or land and we have developed a series of toi or artwork specific to the College and its surroundings, designed to provide a subtle visibility of the Māori culture and Presbyterian faith so important to the College. We are proud to be involved and hope it will be enjoyed for many years to come”.

Christine says incorporating Te Ao Māori and Tikanga principles will be reflected in the way St Andrew’s represents its future buildings and plantings. “We remain true to our Scottish symbolism, traditions and identity, and the stories of the founders of St Andrew’s are very special to us. However, living in Aotearoa New Zealand now, it is important we also acknowledge and live our partnership with Māori through the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It is also imperative for our young people, particularly our Māori students, the mana whenua of New Zealand, to see themselves and their culture represented in the College environment.”

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