Te Rau Karamu Marae wins three Institute of Architects awards

Friday 8 July 2022

Te Kāhui Toi and Athfield Architects, in association with Massey University, have won three awards for Te Rau Karamu Marae at the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Wellington Awards.

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Te Rau Karamu Marae is located on Massey's Pukeahu campus in Wellington.

The collective were named winners in the Interior Architecture, Education, and Resene Colour awards categories. Te Kāhui Toi artists Kura Puke and Stuart Foster attended the award ceremony at the Embassy Theatre, alongside Ari Stevens and Nick Mouat of Athfield Architects.

The description for the award reads, “Te Rau Karamu Marae creates a new cultural heart to the centre of Massey University’s Wellington campus. The marae can host guests overnight and facilitate different types of teaching and learning, whilst also providing a place for retreat and rejuvenation. The marae acknowledges multiple connections and interfaces with surrounding campus buildings and the wider precinct. The atea opens out to the surrounding university courtyards and streets, holding its own mana without physical barriers through the use of patterned paving, planting and the carved waharoa.”

The jury also noted the impeccable details on the whakairo and tukutuku panels in the marae, where each of the panels represent different tree, bird and insect life. The embroidered panels of the sky give a sense that the cosmic tree is reaching to the heavens.

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Some of the detailing on the interior of Te Rau Karamu Marae.

Ms Puke says the collaboration with Athfield Architects was a highly successful one. “The collaboration became centred on mauri, tikanga, mātauranga, and the relationships between. The marae is now an uplifting sanctuary for future generations to wānanga.”

Toi Rauwhārangi Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Rebecca Sinclair, who herself is trained in architecture, also attended the award ceremony. She used the term ‘architect of the intangible’ to describe her perspective, and to convey what the collaboration has achieved.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori Professor Meihana Durie says, “The recognition of Te Kāhui Toi and Athfield Architects for these awards also acknowledges, I think, the culmination of an incredible vision, weaving together outstanding artistic, cultural and architectural expertise. The journey to open Te Rau Karamu Marae literally took years of hard work and persistence, and the collaboration between Te Kāhui Toi and Athfield Architects has resulted in an extraordinarily contemporary design for the ages."

“Pukeahu Campus and Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa  can be very proud of Te Kāhui Toi in particular, who have been immensely well-led from start to finish by Professor Ngātai Taiapa and by Associate Dean Kura Puke in Toi Rauwhārangi,” Professor Durie says.

Te Kāhui Toi is a team of artist-designers, supported by tohunga and tribal leaders, and guided by experts in their specialist knowledge.

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