Puhi Kai Iti / Cook Landing National Historic Reserve wins gold award

A sensitive re-interpretation of the Puhi Kai Iti/Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve has been recognised by the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand, receiving a Gold Pin at the 2020 Best Awards in Auckland.

Landscape architect Cathy Challinor (Boffa Miskell) and artist Nick Tupara (Ngāti Oneone) were co-creative directors on the project.

Boffa Miskell was engaged by a partnership of Te Papa Atawhai Department of Conservation, Te Kaunihera o Te  Tairawhiti Gisborne District Council and Ngāti Oneone to rebalance narratives expressed in this significant landscape in time for the 250-year anniversary of Cook’s arrival. The initial project scope entailed landscape architectural design, development of cultural and historical narratives, and storytelling in conjunction with Ngāti Oneone.

Though the project gained traction in the 250th Anniversary of Cook’s arrival, the redeveloped space represents 1000 years of navigation and settlement in Turanganui-a- Kiwa Gisborne with sculpture and storytelling that acknowledges the ancestor Maia who landed at Tawararo (Kaiti Beach) and settled at the site, through to the landing of Cook at the same site 750 years later.

The judge’s comments acknowledged the success achieved by the project team: “This project beautifully details and integrates strong and complex cultural narratives, responding to a historically significant site and brief. Employing the power of landscape, materiality and craft — both traditional and contemporary — it sensitively recrafts the narrative of the significance of this site.”

A particularly impactful element, and one deep with meaning, is the circular walls featuring 112 steel tukutuku panels, punched with 53,900 individual holes, and woven with 7.3km of cord by volunteers from local iwi Ngāti Oneone and skilled weavers from around Tairawhiti. The tukutuku designs incorporate kaokao,  poutama, roimata tōroa,  pātiki and patterns specific to Te Poho o Rāwiri Marae and is an outcome cherished by the designers.

The Boffa Miskellteam also included landscape architects Morné Hugo and Rory Gray; and kaiarataki Te Pio Kawe. Civil Project Solutions, Currie Construction, Opus, Tiaki Consultants and MHL – Lighting were among the vendors and suppliers on the project.

Images and Text: Boffa Miskell