Photo: Petra Leary


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Maungawhau Tihi Boardwalk


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  • NZILA Category Winner Parks, Open Spaces and Recreation — 2022
Photo: Petra Leary
Photo: Petra Leary

Maungawhau / Mt Eden is wāhi tapu—a sacred place of immense historical, cultural and spiritual significance to the Mana Whenua iwi / hapū of Tāmaki Makaurau. It is a dormant volcanic field, with the tallest scoria cone within the Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland isthmus.

Due to its central location and stunning panoramic views, it is a popular recreational site that showcases this unique landscape to tourists and visitors to the region. This popularity has increasingly strained the land, physically and culturally through track erosion and damage to significant archaeological features.

The brief called for a design solution which accommodated and protected the Maunga from growing popularity, whilst not detracting from its complex of earthwork structures, expressive volcanic form, and to enhance the experience as a journey. Our response to this challenging brief through a recessive boardwalk design has been refined at every stage of the process to result in a solution of simplicity and clarity.

The Maungawhau Tihi boardwalk project sits quietly, recessively, simply protecting and amplifying the most essential element; the Maunga and experience of this truly unique landscape. Underpinned by TMA's core values and management plans, and integrated landscape planning, it addresses pressing land use and cultural challenges and reaffirms the value and purpose of landscape architecture.

Image: uploads/2022_01/Maungawhau_03.jpg

The Maungawhau Tihi Boardwalk which sits high above Tāmaki Makaurau exhibits restraint in design which ensures that the values of the maunga it sits on and the protection of wahi tapū have been given priority.  The ethos of the construction assembly and simplicity of materials have resulted in a site which is uncluttered and allows the landscape to speak for itself. 

The site is a vivid example of how cultural landscape can be elevated without the placement of motifs everywhere. The outcome is sophisticated, innovative, and illustrates the notion of courtesy in design. The inserted elements appear delicate and elegant, but on closer inspection they are clearly robust and offer a protective armature for the vulnerable landscape beneath.  These project innovations have the potential to challenge the status quo for more traditional construction methods and material selection in a range of prominent park and recreational settings in the future. 

Tūpuna Maunga Authority

Isthmus, Tūpuna Maunga Authority

Internal collaborators:
Nada Stanish, Sean Burke, Jotaro Tokunaga, Alex Foxon, Simon Button

External collaborators:
Stellar Projects, Chester Consultants, CFG Heritage

Key contractors:
HEB Construction

Image: uploads/2022_01/Maungawhau_04.jpg
Photo: Petra Leary
Photo: Petra Leary
Image: uploads/2022_01/Maungawhau_06.jpg