December 03, 2012
House swivels to face the sun
There's a new building in Canterbury, and not because of Ruaumoko.
Tuahuriri opened Maahunui II on Tuahiwi Marae near Kaiapoi on Saturday, more than a decade after they identified structural problems in the original meeting house.
Arihia Bennett, the Chief Executive of Te Runanga ō Ngāi Tahu, says Huia Reriti of MAP Architects has designed a simple and modern structure that is oriented to the north facing the maunga, rather than east like the first Maahunui.
She says that was a source of considerable debate, which was resolved by researching the other four houses that have stood there since Ngāi Tahu moved its central base from Kaiapoi to Tuahiwi.
"One of our earlier buildings did face north so that enabled our people to feel a sense of reassurance. It wasn't only about modern technology, that there was a sense of spiritual connection to what was there earlier," Ms Bennett says.
Like the earlier building the interior is uncarved, but six pou depicting ancestors will be erected leading up to the mahau.
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