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Nestled at the foot of the Wharerata Ranges, Rangiwaho marae is an off-the-grid redevelopment of a traditional marae. Sustainability is core to all aspects of the marae, and all decisions are made within a framework of kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga. The project works with ideas of old and new, dark and light, public and private, serious and fun.

This is a two-stage project – Stage 1 being the wharenui and Stage 2 being a wharekai, a mirror image of the wharenui. The wharenui is a modern interpretation of the traditional whare, reflecting the eponymous ancestor Rangiwaho, the male element. The wharekai, Rongomaiwaiata, sits subservient and creates contrast as the female element. The wharekai’s visual and physical connection with the whenua is extremely important. It is positioned to capture the dawn sun, providing light and warmth.

We have blended the contemporary and the traditional in these warm, light and very natural buildings. A woven whariki (floor mat) was designed in collaboration with iwi artists and digitised to create a modern carpet which appears to have been woven in the traditional manner. A complex electrical system was required to ensure that the marae could accommodate substantial gatherings, while being off-the-grid.

The entire project is based in a strong and respectful connection between the buildings and the whenua and will ensure that the Rangiwaho marae will cater for the needs of its people for generations to come.