Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism
Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism is a kaupapa Māori design studio based in Te Tai Tokerau, Whangārei, Aotearoa (New Zealand). Director Jade Kake (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Whakatōhea) established Matakohe in late July 2018 with a vision to use her professional skills obtained in te ao Pākehā to assist her whānau (family) and hapū (tribe) to navigate the planning system and development processes and to realise their own aspirations for development on whenua Māori and within their rohe. She also held a strong desire to grow and support a team of dedicated kaimahi to utilise their professional skills in support of their own whānau and hapū projects, while earning a living wage in secure employment.
Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism was designed to support Māori communities and organisations to progress their marae, papakāinga, whenua development projects, by combining cultural and technical expertise to co-create a design process that takes into consideration the history, culture and aspirations of the community that also allows for maximum input and engagement while providing the expertise and assurance required to support effective decision-making.
Kake and her practice also work with mana whenua groups to contribute to culturally appropriate and environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development within their rohe, including public space, civic, commercial and education projects. Through planning, architectural design, technical assistance and research, services help iwi, hapū, whānau and mataawaka communities (at the invitation of mana whenua) to exercise mana motuhake and realise their own aspirations for their physical environments.
The design approach is to seek to collaborate wherever possible, or remove the practice from competition (if appropriate), which requires a good working knowledge of the strengths, interests and geographic reach of potential collaborators. This is achieved through direct relationships, as well as networks such as Ngā Aho (the Māori design professionals network), as well as supporting our whānau and hapū to make sound procurement decisions and foster a widespread commitment to growing hapū capacity and capability by effectively utilising appropriate whānau and hapū practitioners.
Our vision is for a decolonised built environment within Aotearoa (New Zealand) by building a kaimahi (worker) team competent in te ao Māori (Māori culture) and te ao Pākehā (European settler culture) who are empowered to utilise their cultural and technical skills to give effect to He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti (foundational documents relating to Indigenous self-determination and sovereignty).
Photography: Headshot by Lottie Hedley; Pūtahi Park – Town Basin Whangārei courtesy of Whangārei District Council; Dargaville Racecourse Development by Matakohe Architecture and Urbanism & The Urban Advisory; Kamo High School by Ministry of Architecture + Interiors.