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Cultural Patterns and House Design.

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AAA Bulletin, 48, 31

Published Year

One of the most influential Māori academics and a leading advocate for Māori rights and social justice, Walker explores the relationship between culture and architecture.

In the paper Walker discussed the changes in housing due to urban migration and explored some of the ways the Māori have attempted to adapt urban housing to meet their cultural and social needs. The primary difficulty for urban Māori was the absence of Marae. He notes that during tangi or when relatives visited, Māori homes fulfil all the functions of ‘little marae’ so they need to contain increased social space, outdoor cooking areas, and bedroom facilities that can cater for large numbers. For Māori, this transformation of a house indicated that the ideal design of a house included an increased social space compared with Pākehā housing of the time. He thus challenges the preconception that the standard ‘three bedroom tiled roofed bungalow’, particularly those that had been produced by the State during this period, is suitable for the specific needs of Māori and Polynesian families. By engaging with the concept of cultural patterns, the article goes beyond a mere exploration of architectural aesthetics, delving into the broader socio-cultural dimensions that underpin housing preferences and practices. there has been limited literature since then addressing the specific use of homes by Māori and the potential distinctions from other cultural groups. This gap in research could be attributed to the rising prevalence of urban marae development during the late 1970s and 1980s. While the necessity for Māori families to host events, such as tangi, in their homes may have diminished, there remains a scarcity of literature shedding light on the current role that houses play in Māori cultural and social gatherings. The evolving landscape of urban marae and its impact on Māori practices within domestic spaces presents an intriguing avenue for further exploration and analysis.

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