Architecture of New Zealand: What to Know

The architecture of New Zealand is immediately noticeable for how congruous the buildings seem in comparison to their surroundings. They don’t seem to obstruct the natural environment and in many cases the building seems to have a natural sort of flow, with nature at its heart.

This is no odd coincidence, but is a result of how deep and spiritual underpinnings have made their way into the architecture of New Zealand and its buildings.

Maori Mythology and Architecure of New Zealand

According to Maori mythology, creation of New Zealand arose as a result of the Sky Father’s children being lost at sea in their canoe and freezing over. The parts of the canoe that froze above the water became the North and the South Islands while Auraki, the eldest brother, and his siblings that froze on the canoe became what is now known in English as Mount Cook, and the Southern Alps. 


This goes to show how important and significant the Maori and the Kiwi community believe nature to be in their daily life. Therefore they understand the significance of incorporating natural elements into their architectural styles.

This is even reflected in the fact that some natural entities such as rivers or glaciers in New Zealand even hold legal status in the public domain, enshrining their value into daily life. 

New Zealand Architecture

This also results in sustainable designs that use locally sourced raw materials that bind the building into the environment as opposed to creating an opulent statement that separates the building from its natural surroundings. 

Influences on Architecture of New Zealand

The architecture of New Zealand is also highly influenced by the European settlers and in cities like Napier which is considered today to be the Art Deco Capital of the World stands testament to that.

Striking geometric lines have come to define the Art Deco aesthetic of the 1930s and nowhere is this more prominent than in Napier.

A devastating earthquake flattened most of the city and surrounding areas in 1931 and a rebuilding of the city in the design of the prevailing times was commissioned. 

Napier Art Deco

Now it is once again a thriving hub of art, wine, vintage aesthetics and merry times and highlights the diversity that encompasses what is known as New Zealand architecture.

Guided tours of the area and its unique architectural heritage can be taken to truly immerse yourself into the history of the region. 



This post was published by Ken Chiramel

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