Te Whare, New Zealand

Where space tells stories and communicates values

The Maori people of New Zealand need only to look around their ancestral meeting homes, or whare, to remember their family history, which is literally carved into the walls. Whare are designed to embody an important ancestor, but the whare at Waitangi is unprecedented, because its architecture doesn't represent one ancestor, but all Maori people. Its ornate carvings tell many families' stories, joining them together. This unique whare was envisioned by statesmen Tau Henare and Sir Apirana Ngata, and built to celebrate the centennial of the Waitangi Treaty, New Zealand's 1840 charter and proclamation of peace. The design of Te Whare Runanga immerses visitors in a message of peace and unity.