Adam Clark


Master of Architecture (Professional)


Te Whare Atapō | The House Before Dawn

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Within a Eurocentric perspective, the built environment is predominantly conceived to safeguard us from the outside natural environment. The mātauranga Māori worldview, in contrast, offers a more fluid understanding of our relationship with the wider contextual environment and one another. It avoids notions of separation, offering instead a blurring of boundaries between our built (inside), natural (outside), and cultural (within) environments.

This thesis' research began with two preliminary design sites being explored: urban Te Aro Pā, Wellington and rural Tokomaru Bay, Gisborne — sites representing Māori heritage in direct opposition, reflected in their urban versus rural environments and the inhabitant population. These sites offer critical terrain where inhabiting a mātauranga Māori worldview was explored through the contextual relationships, implied dynamics of cause and effect, and opposing dialogues represented by each site. The developed design site is situated at Ngāpuwaiwaha Marae, Taumarunui, the author’s marae. It is representative of an architectural context defined by the emotional and physical use of the immersive, interactive and habitable characteristics within pūrākau.

This design-led research investigation addresses the cultural reconnection of Māori youth by adopting an allegorical architecture framework that positions pūrākau at the forefront.

To access the full thesis:


Adam Clark


Daniel K Brown





Warren and Mahoney Māori and Pasifika Scholarship
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