Rural Landscape Signatures the interconnectedness of place, culture and ecosystems

Main Article Content

Bruno Marques
Alison Baker Alison Baker


Aotearoa-New Zealand’s legal, ecological and social perspectives are composed of combinedPākehā (NZ European) and Māori identities, values, perspectives and traditions. These two verydifferent cultural perspectives are reflected in the conversations and dialogues occurring withregards to the landscape, and also in the lands forms and features itself. The separation betweentraditional Māori values and prevailing European developments and design approaches promotesregional landscapes that lack place and a sense of place within the wider Aotearoa-New Zealandcontext. South Wairarapa, in Aotearoa-New Zealand’s lower North Island, presents such acollision; the land bears the imprints of its colonising rural pedigree, and blatantly andunashamedly disregards the undeniable Indigenous Māori connection. This paper explores howlandscape architecture can overlay past cultural conversations to restructure and enhance thepresence of a defined regional and cultural identity and therefore promote a re-emergence ofplaced identity. Cultural signatures are written onto the landscape to be read and interpreted, andcan be re-written, corrected and modified so to further reflect Indigenous and intrinsicconnectedness with one’s landscape and its associated processes. The design, management anddevelopment of rural regional landscapes can evidence cultural values and landscape heritageswhile maintaining their obvious need for economic and regional prosperity, and sustainability. Theapparent disconnect most modern populations have with their landscape is palpableinternationally; the processes and management techniques of old are insufficient. There is a needin Aotearoa-New Zealand for an alternative approach to regional planning and design practices,which evidence our cultural pedigrees. Prominent landscape signatures should be reworked, newones written, and the old rewritten, to create an inter-relatedness and interconnectednessbetween humans and ecosystems to protect past places and placements, enhance new ones, andpromote the sustainable management and stewardship of the landscape.

Article Details