Cultural landscape approach to design at ICOMOS

Attending the ICOMOS 2018 conference, from left, Jade Kake, Gordon Edward (from Vanuatu), Jacqueline Paul. Gordon was also funded by the New Zealand Government to attend the conference. Photo: Jade Kake.

Integrating Kaupapa Māori and Te Aranga design principles into design processes was the theme of a paper presented by Building Better researchers Jacqueline Paul and Jade Kake at the ICOMOS 2018 conference in Suva, Fiji earlier this month. The aim of the conference was to share knowledge, celebrate the rich culture of the Pacific, and discuss common issues of heritage conservation across the region.

Jade reflected on her experiences of the conference, finding some presentations troubling, while others were uplifting. To read about her experiences please see the researchers’ reflections report.


The Te Aranga Strategy is a cultural landscape approach to design, incorporating a series of Māori cultural values. The Te Aranga Design Principles, which evolved from the strategy, address the processes of economic, social, environmental and spatial development changes. The principles have arisen from a widely held desire to enhance mana whenua (indigenous people of the land) presence, visibility and participation in the design of the physical realm. They are a set of outcome-based principles founded on Māori cultural values and formulated to provide practical guidance for enhancing outcomes in the built environment. This enables local government, the development community, and construction industry to understand how they can positively engage with mana whenua in shaping our built environment. Te Aranga Design Principles can also be embedded through procurement and develop a framework to translate into the design process and contracts for public-private partnerships in community development. This paper discusses the Te Aranga Design Principles, their origins, and the ways in which they might be useful and applicable in the development of policy and design. This is driven by the Kaupapa Māori (Māori-centric) approach, as opposed to eurocentric and western models. Through research, policy advocacy and design work, this paper recognizes methodologies which can contribute towards shaping the places people live in. It contributes to models for future sustainable development through localised solutions, founded on indigenous worldviews and aspirations.

Conference Overview

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a professional association that works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places around the world.

Australia ICOMOS, ICOMOS Pasifika and ICOMOS New Zealand hosted a 3 day conference in Suva, Fiji to share knowledge, celebrate the rich culture of the Pacific and discuss common issues on heritage conservation across the region. The main theme of the conference was “Culture: conserving it together”. This was also supported by four sub- themes:

1. Heritage at Risk – Climate Change and Disasters;

2. Cultural Landscape Practice and Management;

3. Diverse Communities – Intangible Heritage; and

4. Heritage as a Pillar of Sustainable Development.

Jade and Jacqueline presented their conference paper under sub-theme ‘Diverse Communities – Intangible Heritage’.

For any enquiries please contact, Jacqueline Paul, Researcher, Te Ara Poutama Faculty, Auckland University of Technology, E:

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Date posted: 31 October 2018