On Whenua, Landscape and Monumental Interiors


  • Amanda Yates Massey University




Maori, Interior design, Landscape architecture


There is an intersection of landscape and interior within pre-contact Maori building practice. Throughout New Zealand the land bears imprints from such interventions as the terracing of pa1 to form defensible, habitable zones; the recessing of rua-kai2 to form storage vessels within the ground; the indenting of umu3; and the imprinting of the interiors of whare puni4. This paper explores the manner in which this excavational practice destabilises the clear distinctions between the Western spatial disciplines of interior design, landscape architecture, and architecture. The paper speculates that this carving practice may offer opportunities for intercultural, interdisciplinary space making.

This exploration moves between cultures, between perceptions of landscape and whenua, between landscape, interior and architectural disciplines. These betweens are theorised as a practice, as a mode of making contemporary space which draws from the history and specificity of this land and indigenous culture. This theorised practice has been embodied in a series of buildings developed over the last seven years. Step House, and Continuum House are discussed in relation to notions of landscape interiors and nature-culture continuums. The built works are sited in-between; between bodies in space, and the body of the land; between architecture, landscape and the interior; between indigenous and Western cultures.


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How to Cite

Yates, Amanda. 2006. “On Whenua, Landscape and Monumental Interiors”. Idea Journal 7 (1):103-13. https://doi.org/10.37113/ideaj.vi0.251.



Design Research Paper