Hawaiki papa kāinga development

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Curating Mahi Toi in Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa’s Head Office

Earlier this year, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa and the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust moved into a new tari, based out of Te Tōangaroa, in the AECOM House building. 

Previously, Whai Rawa and the Trust worked from two separate offices in Te Tōangaroa, so the move to the new workplace has provided more integration and collaboration between our two teams.

Dave Harriman from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei curated a collection of mahi toi from our iwi creatives and provided creative input into the look and feel of the office space.

“The office space was a blank canvas for us to portray our art, our stories and our history in Tāmaki Makaurau. We wanted the space to be visually appealing and beautiful, but we also wanted to create a certain feeling when you entered the office, a feeling of manaaki, being embraced by the iwi - like a big warm hug,” he says.

Throughout the process, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei whānau kai raranga, Beronia Scott provided her help and guidance in sourcing the collection of raranga works, while Ropata Paora named the different rooms within the tari.

Each name pays homage to the history of the iwi. For example, the Whai Rawa Board Room is named Hikurangi, a reference to te kāinga tūturu (original homeland) and Tuperiri's Pā on Maungakiekie.

Inspired by the taiao, Dave says the artwork is predominately made with natural timbers and earthy colours that connect the space to the land and its heritage.

"The artwork is complemented by the use of the bespoke paint palette which Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei developed in partnership with Resene, using our taiao, our whenua and our whānau as inspiration,” says Dave.

“The bold orange ceiling in the office whare kai, named Ahitūroa, symbolises sunrise and sunset at Takaparawhau (Bastion Point) invoking our ahi kā and the fires burning. The space is lit by weaving- patterned lighting motifs, uniting the design with deep cultural ties and honouring Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's legacy.”

Overall, the combination of mahi toi, cultural design and use of colour has completely transformed the space. The thoughtfully balanced elements of te ao Māori honours our kōrero tuku iho and adds to the other notable mahi toi that is on display in AECOM house. Nau mai!