A re-interpretation of the Cook Landing Site National Historic Reserve was recognised by the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand and received a Gold Pin at the 2020 Best Awards back in November.
Landscape architect Cathy Challinor (Boffa Miskell) and artist Nick Tupara were co-creative directors on the project.
Boffa Miskell was engaged by a partnership of the Department of Conservation, the Gisborne District Council and Ngati 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 the local iwi.
Though the project gained traction in the 250th Anniversary of Cook’s arrival, the redeveloped space represents some 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 around 750 years later.
The judge’s comments acknowledged the success achieved by the project team: “This project beautifully details and integrates strong and complex culturanarratives, 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 7.3 kilometres of cord by volunteers from Ngati Oneone and skilled weavers from around Tairawhiti. The tukutuku designs incorporate kaokao, poutama, roimata tōroa, patiki and patterns specific to Te Poho o Rawiri Marae and is an outcome cherished by the designers.
Cathy Challinor says: “It was an honour to play a part in bringing these two narratives together, and to work with the wider team to find ways to effectively express all the layers of meaning and memory that are present at the site.
A project like this, that seeks to bring a more inclusive re-framing to a significant historic event, is challenging work; but it’s very satisfying and we all are tremendously proud of the outcome.”
The Boffa Miskell team also included landscape architects Morne 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.