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Te Kawenata o Rata

NZIA President Christina van Bohemen and Ngā Aho kaumatua sign the kawenata in a ceremony in Auckland.

Photo by David St George

At a dawn ceremony in Auckland on Wednesday 8 February 2017, representatives of Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and Ngā Aho, the society of Māori design professionals, signed Te Kawenata o Rata, a covenant that formalises an ongoing relationship of co-operation between the two groups.

The kawenata, which will enable future joint strategies and action plans to be developed between the NZIA and Ngā Aho, was signed by Ngā Aho Chair Desna Whaanga-Schollum and Past Chair Rau Hoskins, NZIA President Christina van Bohemen and Past President Pip Cheshire, and Ngā Aho Kaumatua Haare Williams.


The kawenata (view PDF here)is a values-based agreement, deliberately kept simple, and based around five articles that set out the relationship between the NZIA and Ngā Aho in the spirit of partnership under the mana of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The five articles refer to:

- Respect ­/ Whakaritenga;

- Authority and Responsibility / Rangatiratanga;

- Knowledge and Tikanga / Mātauranga Whaihanga;

- Co-operation / Mahi Kotahitanga;

- Representation / Kanohi Kitea.

An early draft of the kawenata was presented at a hui at Waipapa Marae in Auckland on 19 February 2016. At the hui, vigorous discussion of the document was undertaken and substantial changes were made to the document.

Subsequently, smaller meetings of a working party including Pip Cheshire and Teena Hale Pennington (NZIA) and Haare Williams, Rau Hoskins and others from Ngā Aho honed the kawenata into its present form.

In order to give meaningful effect to the document, the working party that developed the draft of the kawenanta agreed to the ongoing representation of Ngā Aho on the NZIA Council.

A Ngā Aho member has been co-opted onto the Council for a two-year term. The signed kawenata was recognised and signed by members of both organisations in the NZIA's eight branches. The local signings offered an opportunity to meet on marae, discuss architecture and the important local issues and priorities.

Elisapeta Heta discussed Te Kawenata o Rata with Wallace Chapman on Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning – listen here.


Te Aranga design principles

Te Aranga Māori Design Principles were developed by Māori design professionals as a response to the New Zealand Urban Design Protocol in 2005. Over time the principles have been developed and adopted by the Auckland Council with the support of Ngā Aho and are being promoted across all council built projects.

The principles enable Māori values to be incorporated into the design process. This has seen improved awareness and engagement with mana whenua on sites of cultural significance in Auckland. Te Aranga principles are now being applied by Auckland Council, mana whenua authorities and private developers to support this process of engagement and design. The principles provide a good framework for all design-based projects.

The Auckland Design Manual provides some excellent resources on the Te Aranga Principles and their use across a range of projects. 

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