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Please enquire to maibritt.pedersen.zari@aut.ac.nz for any of the following NUWAO opportunities as soon as possible with a CV and cover letter.

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NUWAO News

NUWAO Masters Student back from Rarotonga field work

Are (House) on the shore in Aitutaki, one of the outer islands

By Jovaan Mataroa, Master of Architecture student, VUW, September 2, 2022.

Kia Orana,

Over the past two months I was lucky enough to visit the Cook Islands to conduct some field work for my project. My thesis is set in Rarotonga and an important part of this trip was connecting back with my roots, with our Kuki Airani culture and values. While I was there experienced first-hand, a lot of the challenges that come with conducting ‘research’ in the Pacific, something which enabled a deeper understanding of my methodology, and the importance of local engagement when designing in Rarotonga. A highlight of my trip was the opportunity to create such meaningful connections within our community in Rarotonga. So many incredible humans were more than willing to share their opinions and knowledge and give their time to help me understand more about our people, our land and our culture.  

Having the chance to connect with our community, my genealogy, culture and environment was an incredible experience. It was filled with many trips up mountains, to reefs and within some of our traditional Are (houses). While I was there, Rarotonga had some massive king tides on a side of the island that is primarily untouched in these types of swells. To be on the island during this time was a very humbling experience, witnessing first-hand the power of Tangaroa. Thankfully, there were no fatal injuries because of these but many of the buildings along the shore didn’t fare as well. This event soon became a topic which enabled deeper conversations in my interview, regarding our current buildings and how they interact with our Moana. I think one of the most valuable pieces of knowledge that I gained while I was here is a deeper understanding of our traditional relationship with our environment. Everything is connected, with the individual making up one tiny part of a dynamic system which gives and takes throughout multiple ecosystems, communities, and our culture.

This trip to conduct interviews and community workshops was priceless, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have made these connections in our community.

Meitaki Maata to everyone that participated!

Community Workshop in Rarorotonga, August 2022
View from Raemaru