11 Oct 2012

Holistic health centre wins Maori design award

9:10 am on 11 October 2012

An award winning Wellington architectural firm says Maori designs are becoming more fashionable and planners are being inspired to reflect something uniquely New Zealand.

Hugh Tennent and Ewan Brown recently won the inaugural Maori design category, the Nga Aho Award, at the 2012 Best Design Awards for a holistic health centre.

The health centre at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki includes two sports courts, a cardio gym, nutrition training kitchen, classrooms and offices.

The architects worked with Mason Durie from the wananga who guided them through what the institution was trying to achieve.

Both Mr Tennent and Mr Brown, who are Pakeha, have also created blueprints for Nga Mana Tamariki school in Palmerston North.

Mr Tennent says there seems to be more of a desire and capacity to be poetic and express something cultural with architecture, which is becoming more visible in new structures being built.

He says the wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront is a good example of what is evolving.

Mr Tennent says there are some good Maori building consultants, but equally there are many non-Maori engineers who are receptive to what the vision or kaupapa is that wants to be expressed, and they are happy to oblige.