Te Upoko o Te Whenua Marae



Completion Date


  • Master planning
  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
"Alongside substantial landscape works, the desire for the canopy was to remain humble."

Te Upoko o Te Whenua Marae began master planning work by exploring environmental opportunities that would future proof their marae - providing functional space for the growing Ngāti Maru Iwi, while encouraging tangata whenua to return to their marae.

The masterplan includes spaces that can cater to many and allows Ngāti Maru the opportunity to host wānanga and large events. Te Upoko o te Whenua Marae development fits within the capital works section of the Ngāti Maru 5 year action plan and a big part of the brief is to be ‘unapologetically Maru’.

Te Upoko O Te Whenua Marae is the only remaining Marae within Ngati Maru district and iwi boundary. The Marae sits on 17.4 hectares of Reservation land and the Waitara awa boarders the site. A large hill to the north east of the marae was restricting light and a terraced landscape solution was decided upon to address daylighting of the space.

Improving accessibility was also a significant factor to the landscape planning – a concrete slab was built up underneath a new canopy extending  from the front of  Ngarongo – the wharenui at Te Upoko o Te Whenua Marae. Alongside substantial landscape works, the desire for the canopy was to remain humble. A sentiment which was to remain instrumental, observing the canopy as an extension of Ngarongo rather than an addition. A focus on simplicity and purpose formed the material selection and construction methodology for the canopy.  A considerably humble approach has been taken to a space that is designed for shelter, improved access and function of the existing wharenui it extends from. Alongside the addition of the canopy, new aluminium sliding doors have been installed to the existing wharenui, refreshing and reinstating the existing aesthetic of Ngarongo.