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Auckland Transport

Otahuhu Station – Mahi Toi Integration: A tribute to Otahuhu

The architectural design process behind the construction of Auckland Transport’s (AT) Ōtāhuhu Station has weaved together multiple historical and local cultural narratives.

A new video produced through a partnership between mana whenua and Auckland Transport, reveals the narratives behind the architecture, capturing the history and culture of the many people who migrated to, and through the area and shows the creative process behind construction of the iconic structure.

AT’s Māori Policy and Engagement Manager Tipa Compain says AT’s partnering with mana whenua from the beginning of the project helped set clear narratives and priorities from the outset. “Ōtāhuhu has always been a geographically and culturally significant place due to its location on the narrowest point of the Auckland isthmus. Traditionally it is a significant waka portage (Te Tō Waka / Te Tāhuhutanga o te Waka Tainui). The project design team worked closely with mana whenua to reflect and respect the cultural importance of the site from the inception through to the implementation of this project.

Te Aranga Design Principles guided the thought process behind the design of the new station. Mr Compain says, “Mana whenua were keen to restore the mauri (life force) and the establishment of three key narratives to be incorporated into the project design: navigation, portage/waka and maunga. This influenced the layout and design of the architecture and landscape, and resulted in the integration of iwi art and design throughout the station site.”

The following mana whenua partnered with Auckland Transport under the philosophy Mā te mahi ngā tahi, ka ea ngā huanga – By collaboration the outcomes will be achieved. This partnership was essential to integrate cultural elements to strengthen the sense of place and significance for all to embrace:

  • Ngāti Te Ata
  • Ngāti Tamaoho
  • Te Ahiwaru
  • Te Akitai Waiohua
  • Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei
  • Ngai Tai ki Tamaki
  • Ngāti Maru
  • Ngāti Paoa
  • Ngāti Whānaunga
  • Te Kawerau a Maki
  • Ngāti Tamatera

In a testimony of the positive outcomes of the partnership between mana whenua and Auckland Transport, Ōtāhuhu Station recently won an Award of Excellence in the prestigious Te Karanga o te Tui category at the 2017 New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) Awards.

Find out more about Ōtāhuhu Station and mana whenua input into its design.