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Identifying commonalities between indigenous values and current sustainable design concepts in Aotearoa New Zealand

Emily Voyde, Te Kipa Kepa Brian Morgan


Urbanization creates impervious surfaces which reduce natural hydrologic functions and result in channel erosion, loss of property and habitat degradation. Sustainable design and management adopts a more holistic approach to conventional methods. Various techniques for sustainable management are Low Impact Development (LID), Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD). Regardless of terminology, the introduction of such concepts to Aotearoa New Zealand reflects a paradigm shift from conventional stormwater management techniques to a more sustainable design philosophy. This paper proposes that the imported concepts of sustainable design run parallel to indigenous values when applied in the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Mātauranga Māori is the indigenous knowledge of the Māori people of Aotearoa. Examples are presented to discuss the parallels between current sustainable design techniques and the contribution of mātauranga Māori through indigenous values.

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