Reflecting Bicultural Mechanisms in Waterscape Design and Planning in Aotearoa New Zealand

Bowerman, Emily
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University of Guelph

Colonial urbanization in Aotearoa New Zealand has caused detriment to waterways that have cultural, economic and environmental significance to Māori. Supported by extensive academic literature, a paradigm shift recognizes opportunities to empower the Māori worldview as an equal guiding voice in practice. A national example being the Whanganui River Agreement (WRA), awarding the River equal rights as humans in federal law. The WRA showcases an unprecedented example of Māori cultural water values upheld within a Western framework. The research seeks to understand the ways practitioners; landscape architects, planners, designers and environmental managers, uphold bicultural water values when designing or managing waterscapes in New Zealand. Waterscapes are defined as a landscape in which water relationships are central to community social, ecological, recreational, spiritual and cultural interactions. This study contributes professional discourse toward waterscape design and planning in Aotearoa New Zealand, and opportunities to employ a bicultural lens to achieve collaborative outcomes.

Waterscape, Design, Planning, Landscape Architecture, Aotearoa, Bicultural, New Zealand