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Kahikatea Tu Te Uru - A co-design approach to connections

On any given night within a 3km radius of the sky tower, there are approximately 150 people sleeping rough. Of those, approximately 60% are of Māori descent. People who experience homelessness are amongst the most marginalised of our society and Māori who experience homelessness, can face an even greater sense of marginalisation due to a cultural disconnection from whānau, hapū and iwi. However, those who sleep rough, or experience homelessness can also hold truly unique connections and perspectives to the Auckland landscape. Connections and perspectives that can only come from sleeping outdoors and surviving day to day in the various urban environments – in the elements. Often these lived experiences are more similar to those of our pre-European tūpuna than to society’s current norm of domestic living. This kaupapa values those who have experienced homelessness as experts and encourages collaboration with a diverse range of cross-sectorial experts to discuss, dream and create better futures through a kaupapa Māori lens. It is an experiential/place-based programme, or hīkoi, that engages a tira (group) in kinetic or tactile learning while a layer of storytelling helps to grow the collective knowledge of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). It is deeply rooted in tikanga Maori which acknowledges the past so that we may step forward into the future with purpose. Importantly, this kaupapa promotes learning that is rooted in what is local — the unique history, environment, culture, economy, resources and art of the immediate environment. Unique to this kaupapa is the the process of co-design.


Nga hau e wha

Nga Aho practitioner:
Sophia Beaton

Kahikatea Tu Te Uru - A co-design approach to connections

Since July 2013, up to twelve people with lived experiences of homelessness, advisors and other experts have worked together to grow and nurture the kaupapa. By appreciating that everyone has their respective skills, experiences and passions as well as unique ways of seeing the world, this kaupapa pulls all walks of life together to engage in a process of constant growth and learning, from design through to implementation. The intent is for this process to continue, so that each hīkoi is a continuation of the last, with an ever-expansive network of diverse people and places coming together to enliven and activate spaces of innovation, creativity and just good old grassroots collaborations. The first hīkoi was held on 16 November 2013 and was attended by 12 people with lived experience of homelessness. This was a journey from Maungawhau (Mt Eden); Tāhaki Reserve; Pukekawa (Auckland Domain); Takaparawhau (Bastion Point); Ōrakei marae; and Ōkahu Bay. Each of these wāhi (places) were marked by cultural and physical activities that were bound in the narrative of people and place. The second hīkoi was in March 2014 and saw 14 people leave the hustle and bustle of central Tāmaki Makaurau for Te Rangitotongia o Tamatekapua (Rangitoto). From there the tira got a view of the expansive urban landscape of Tāmaki Makauraua literal and metaphorical perspective of where we had come from and where we were yet to go. Since that time the codesign team have developed an integrated haerenga (journey) that encompasses 5 hīkoi over 5 months. These 5 hīkoi are pulled together under the stories of Hape, an early ancestor to Tāmaki Makaurau. Hape, who some say overcame isolation and marginalisation when he travelled by stingray to Aotearoa, has left imprints on the local landscape including an event famously known as Te karanga ā Hape which is now known as Karangahape Road (K’Road) – a familiar place for many New Zealanders. The objective of the kaupapa is to empower those who experience homelessness through connections to people, place and culture using a co-design approach. It is hoped that this model may eventually be expanded to other groups and inform a new approach to human flourishing.
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