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Māori architecture: A response to colonisation.

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Asylum, 2021, 128-133

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This article is part of a broader collection examining architectural innovations and discourse.

This work investigates the strategic use of architecture by Māori communities as a form of resistance and assertion of sovereignty (tino rangatiratanga) in the face of colonial dispossession and cultural erosion. Ratana contextualises the historical and ongoing struggle of Māori against colonisation, highlighting the role of architecture in embodying Māori identity, resilience, and political resistance. The paper focuses on two significant architectural endeavours: Hiona and Tapu Te Ranga. Hiona, constructed in the early 20th century under the leadership of prophet Rua Kenana, and Tapu Te Ranga, initiated in the 1970s by Bruce Stewart, are analysed as physical manifestations of Māori resistance and autonomy. These structures not only served communal and ceremonial purposes but also symbolised Māori perseverance and the fight for self-determination amidst colonial pressures. Ratana employs these case studies to elucidate the multifaceted relationship between architecture, identity, and colonial resistance, demonstrating how Māori leaders leveraged building projects to foster community solidarity, preserve cultural heritage, and challenge colonial authority. The analysis is underpinned by references to other scholars and historical contexts, providing a comprehensive view of Māori architectural responses to colonisation.

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