The two Maori winners of awards at the New Zealand Architecture Awards believe the achievement is a potent symbol of the growing strength of Maori both economically and culturally. The awards were presented in Wellington on Friday night.
The Novotel Auckland Airport – designed by Warren & Mahoney for Tainui Auckland Airport Hotel Ltd – and Te Wharewaka o Poneke on the Wellington Waterfront designed by Architecture+, have won two of the four national awards in the commercial architecture category. Tainui Group Holdings CEO, Mike Pohio, said they were very proud that the Novotel Auckland Airport had won an architecture award.
“It is a special building in the way it combines the highest standards of commercial design with strong Waikato-Tainui cultural themes and imagery throughout the hotel.” Mr Pohio said. “It sits outside the gateway from which over 70-percent of visitors to New Zealand come and go, so it has to make a strong statement about who we are as New Zealanders. “The hotel has further entrenched our relationship with ACCOR which operates 450 hotels around the world, and it now features in their worldwide promotional material,” he said. Mr Pohio said these two awards illustrate how well Maori are progressing in the commercial world but at the same time keeping and expressing their identity.
Professor Sir Ngatata Love, Chairman of Te Wharewaka o Poneke Charitable Trust, said he was delighted that there were two Maori winners in the awards. “It sends a very clear message that Maori are involved in high quality developments,” Professor Love said. “I am delighted that the Wharewaka has received yet another prestigious award – this time recognising the cultural and physical uniqueness of the design of our taonga. “For Taranaki Whanui ki te Upoko o te Ika it has given us presence back on the Wellington waterfront but in an elegant, functional and modern context, he said.” Professor Love said it was particularly pleasing that of the twenty award winners, two have direct Maori involvement and Maori ownership.