Summit on indigenous design

By Mikaela Collins

The Whakapara Marae buildings will be centre stage at an indigenous people's design conference at the marae. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
The Whakapara Marae buildings will be centre stage at an indigenous people's design conference at the marae. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A collaboration by indigenous designers from around the world will be one of the features of an international conference to be held in Northland.

The designers will descend on Whakapara Marae, near Whangarei, later this month for an international hui titled I Te Timatanga (At the Source).

The four-day event hosted by Nga Aho, the Maori design professionals' network, is a chance to compare and contrast the methods of indigenous designers throughout the world, said Maori architect Rau Hoskins.

Mr Hoskins said the event - which will host people from North America, Central America, Australia, India, Malaysia and more - came about following a meeting with indigenous designers in Winnipeg two years ago.

"There hasn't been much research about what is common between the different indigenous design methods and what is different," he said. "I'm really keen to find out."

The event will include a collaboration which will focus on re-designing Kokiri (the area's old wharekai, or dining hall).

It was planned that the building would become an arts and training centre for marae and community programmes before it burnt down last year.

"We want to have a discussion as a group about what a new Kokiri could look like, so the collaboration will look at giving back to the local community."

Mr Hoskins decided to host the event at Whakapara Marae as he is a descendant, but also because he designed the marae's distinctive wharenui and the new wharekai.

Site visits to Waitangi and the surrounding Tai Tokerau region will also feature, along with a post-conference tour of Aotearoa to showcase the landscape through the built environment and Maori culture.

- Northern Advocate

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