Upset at make-up of wharf judging panel

By Bernard Orsman

The judges have selected five designs for the wharf. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The judges have selected five designs for the wharf. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Maori and Pacific leaders are miffed at having no input into the design competition for Queens Wharf.

What's more, they see it as a bad sign for the upcoming Auckland Super City when their cultures are not recognised on big projects like the redevelopment of Queens Wharf.

Maori architect Rau Hoskins said he was nominated by the Government and Ngati Whatua to be a judge for the design competition, but later advised he would no longer be required. The five-member judging panel is made up of Pakeha professionals, who last week selected five designs from 237 entries and three teams of professionals to go through to the final stage to redevelop the wharf for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Among the judging criteria was high quality work "which celebrates Auckland's Pacific culture".

Mr Hoskins, who lectures in Maori architecture at Unitec and chairs the national network of Maori design professionals, Nga Aho, said cultural and marae dynamics were needed for a welcoming zone like Queens Wharf.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei spokesman Ngarimu Blair said Maori had gone from being on judging panels or being consulted by the winner to entering design competitions to try and help the process of providing a better cultural input.

"We don't expect to win every competition but as a principle there should be some Maori-Pacific input at judging whether it be Ngati Whatua or not," he said.

The chairman of Auckland City Council's Pacific advisory board, Bruce McCarthy, said the Queens Wharf development must reflect Auckland's position as the world's largest Polynesian city.

"Polynesian cultures, and by that I mean Maori and Pacific Island, are vibrant and colourful and provide a synergy with the international sophistication Auckland has developed that puts it in a world-class league," he said.

A spokesman for Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said the final decision would be taken by the Government, Auckland City and the Auckland Regional Council.


* Professor John Hunt, architect.
* Ian Athfield, architect.
* Rebecca Skidmore, urban designer.
* Jillian de Beer, strategist.
* Graeme McIndoe, urban designer.

- NZ Herald

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