Pukeahu National War Memorial Park COMPETITION


Above the everyday level of experience, the sea is our pathways
to each other and to everyone else, the sea is our endless saga,
the sea is our most powerful metaphor, the Ocean is in us......
— Epeli Hau’ofa

Our proposal connects the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park to a wider regional identity – MAUMOANA. The sacred place not only honours and respects the lives lost during global war and conflicts, but also what they fought for; our people, our land, our ocean. In honour and respect of these lives, the memorial explores the realities and worldviews of Pasifika peoples - that the ocean brings peace, harmony, and connectedness to our people. Additionally, it becomes a place where people can exchange their stories and experiences of war, peacekeeping, and our collective energy to mitigate environmental impacts on the entity that connects all our nations – the Ocean.

MAUMOANA is a remembrance and reflection of the enduring relationship between Aotearoa and Pasifika nations – a relationship of harmony and peace. In Pasifika societies the balance of Peace could be found in four key harmonies: harmony with the cosmos; harmony with the environment; harmony with one’s fellow men; and harmony with one’s self (Tui Atua Efi, 2005; 2). What allowed for these four harmonies to co-exist was the Ocean – it defines us, what we are and have always been; it is the inescapable fact of our lives (Hau’ofa, 1998; 405).

Our proposal draws inspiration from the Ocean in hope that it also inspires and educates all communities on who we are, how we arrived to Aotearoa, and our connection back to our homelands. As you move towards MAUMOANA you see three distinctive features; the VAKA (roof form) (unified term for vessel), POU TU (vertical members) (unified term for posts), and MOANA (the base) (unified term for “Ocean”).


Va’a (water vessels) enabled Oceanic people to navigate the oceans; a symbol of exploration of discovery, of hope, of our connection to the ocean. Inspired by Alfred Haddon and James Hornell’s “Canoes of Oceania”, the roof form expresses the vessel tectonics of each nation. From a distance the “va’a” trusses seem to be the same, but as you enter the space you experience the different intricacies of the structure as you walk it’s perimeter. We intend for the construction of these trusses to be an exchange between tufuga/tuhunga and Oceanic architecture/ construction students across New Zealand.

Pou (vertical members) in most Oceanic societies represent their ancestors, or places of significance. For instance in the Samoan fale, the poulalo represents the matai (chiefs), the poutu (middle posts) where the talitali hangs from, is where MeaSina (valuable treasure) are held. In Aotearoa Pou Whenua are used to signify places of importance, territories, and landmarks. Our Pou signify the relationship between the cosmos and the land, it represents the Oceanic people who have made Aotearoa their homes, their whenua. The Pou become an opportunity for Oceanic artists to collaborate with students across the nation, to signify the different nations that make up Oceania.

Marawa (the base) represents the Ocean, it is the unifying element of our memorial. A step up beyond ground level, the ocean sinks in to the landscape, signifying a merging between the ocean and the landscape. Throughout the day the shadows cast by the va’a draws your attention to the marawa, with the engravings of an Oceanic star chart. During the night the marawa is lit with a rippling soft light to resemble the ocean. From dawn to dusk, through shadow and light, is the physical and spiritual element that connects us to the inescapable fact our lives – the ocean.

We sweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in our blood
— Teresia Teaiwa

status: submitted

year: 2018

location: State Highway 1, Te Aro, Wellington

clients: ministry for culture and heritage

Program: design competition

services: architectural consultancy