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An indigenous cultural perspective to urban design.

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New Zealand Planning Institute and Planning Institute of Australia Congress, , 2-5

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This paper addresses the complex relationship between indigenous people, particularly Māori in New Zealand, and the environment, within the context of urban design and development.

The estimated global indigenous population, over 300 million, including Māori, is now recognised as crucial knowledge holders in managing fragile ecosystems and biodiversity. Indigenous perspectives see both humans and nature as part of an extended ecological family, with the land being central to survival. This view has been challenged and often disrupted by the intensification of urban settlements, which can lead to the damaging or destruction of culturally significant sites and resources. The paper delves into how modern urban expansion often overlooks the values and connections indigenous people have with the land. It discusses how each layer of new settlement often displaces or transforms the values of previous ones, leading to a loss of cultural and environmental continuity. The authors propose a new cultural paradigm for urban design and development in New Zealand, emphasising the need for urban design to go beyond mere physical structures to include connections between people, places, and spaces. Highlighting traditional Māori settlement forms and their relationship with the land, the paper underscores the importance of understanding Māori perspectives in contemporary urban design. It introduces seven cultural design qualities that incorporate Māori concepts, models, and values into urban development processes. These are: mātauranga, whakapapa, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, rangatiratanga, tikanga, and mana whakahaere. These qualities aim to preserve culturally significant resources and landscapes and build community identity based on Māori values.

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