1491522391087 - Victoria University urban design competition re-imagines Porirua City decolonised
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Victoria University urban design competition re-imagines Porirua City decolonised

Imagine Porirua decolonised.

Victoria University in collaboration with Ngati Toa has launched an urban design competition running until May 9, asking people to imagine what a decolonised city might be like using two sites in Porirua: the Onepoto arm of Porirua Harbour and a papakainga housing development site.

Overseeing the project is Victoria University School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences Dr Rebecca Kiddle.

“New Zealand was built around a colonial identity which did not include Maori identities, so this competition considers how we can decolonise cities to provide services, amenities and good homes for diverse Maori and non-Maori whanau and communities,” she said.

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The project team, which draws on the knowledge of local iwi, Maori and Pakeha researchers and experts, hoped to gather a range of future-orientated utopian visions.

“When I think about decolonised cities I think about cities that convey the identity of mana whenua – the iwi/hapu group whose historic roots link to that place.

“We’re using this model because there’s a real space for developing new knowledge around this.”

Participants were asked to submit ideas for a decolonised site, which could take a number of forms including poetry, essays, images, masterplans, artworks and short films. 

“We wanted to keep it open so people didn’t feel like their creativity was being squashed.”

Competition judge  Te Runanga o Toa Rangatira chair Taku Parai said: “We’re interested in how the landscape, culture and aspirations of the whanau are demonstrated through new designs that reflect the existing landscape.

“We hope for a reconnect between culture, whakapapa and history.

“The harbour was the central hub of our existence, in terms of a food source for our people.

“We want to change ‘turning away’ from the harbour to ‘turning towards’ it. It’s exciting to be part of this for our kids and our people.”

The competition included a first place prize of $5000.