March 24, 2016
Maori mix makes for better building
One of the people behind a project to give engineering, architecture and planning students an appreciation of Maori culture says it can save a lot of trouble and expense.
Dr Kepa Morgan from the University of Auckland says while one aim of Te Whaihanga is to help people in those professions work better with Maori clients and stakeholders, all people in New Zealand will benefit from a built environment that reflects the country’s unique cultural mix.
He says in the past Waitangi Tribunal claims around poorly positioned engineering projects ended up with resources being wasted when projects had to be canned.
That created some improvement, but in recent years the emphasis on cultural competence has dropped away.
"While the technical ability to get the calculation right and an understanding of what the economic implications of a engineering or a planning or a architectural challenge are important. If the solution is contextually framed in a way that the community doesn't accept it then that work is finished, it won't be accepted and if it is, it's gonna be a poor fit and it will require redesigning later on," Mr Morgan says.
He says Te Whaihanga, which is a joint venture between four universities and polytechnics will produce training resources for all planning, architectural and engineering students so there's more consistency and a higher standard among graduates.
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