TOA Architects 3 Taumata o Kupe

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Nicholas Dalton
  • Pou Rautaki / Strategic Leads
    Daniel Lewis, Grant Bulley
  • Pou Taketake / Cultural Leads
    Nicholas Dalton, Matekitātahi Rāwiri, Rereata Makiha
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Nicholas Dalton
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Tim Merkens, Matekitatahi Rawiri, Darrell Turner, Diego Silva, Marshall Von Schmit Berry, Alfred Wigmore, Tegan Ingram, Jewel Harris, Matangireia Yates-Francis, Kaitlyn Gruber, Alena Milne, Craig Wilson
  • Client
    Te Mahurehure Marae
Judge's comments:

Te Taumata o Kupe e tū nei. This master piece of Aotearoa architecture stands proud on the shoulders of Kupe. Harnessing the warmth of Tamanui-te-rā, lifting all those that enter in its manaaki. Utilising a myriad of skillsets to weave storytelling into every aspect and detail of the building’s bones it was a clear stand out that captured the hearts and minds of the judges. This is Aotearoa Design excellence embodied. Tēnā rawa atu ki ngā Ringatoi me ngā Ngākautoi o te whare nei. Nō koutou te taumata o Toitanga i tēnei tau. Tūrou Hawaiiki.


1,000 years ago, the sailing waka and navigational technology that bought Kupe to Aotearoa was cutting edge – so Taumata o Kupe utilises modern materials and technology. Traditional Māori buildings are repositories of whakapapa, knowledge and histories. Every element of a tupuna whare tells a story, from the pou whakairo (carved figures on the walls), to the tukutuku (decorative lattice panels), and kōwhaiwhai (painted rafters). They are places that speak of relationships that connect people to people, and people to place. The design of this building is in keeping with this custom, as it depicts a traditional whare Māori in a contemporary and modern way, using innovative materials and methods. The long overdue recognition that mātauranga Māori is valid in the scientific and Western realms and is encapsulated and proven in this whare. It is the physical manifestation and acknowledgment of Kupe Nuku, Kupe used nothing but celestial navigation and knowledge of the taiao to confirm his path. TOA worked closely with the client and Matua Rereata Makiha (1 of 5 tohunga that know the ancient korero around celestial navigation) to create the iconic urban cultural community hub. This project successfully encapsulates the knowledge and teachings of Mātauranga Māori through visual art and design through a collaborative process between TOA Architects, the clients and key stakeholders.