Māori building methods get full earthquake test

Source(s): Sun Publishing Limited, the

Internationally acclaimed architect and researcher Professor Anthony Hoete and his team will this month conduct a full-scale seismic test on ancient Māori construction techniques they aim to use to rebuild a historic Bay of Plenty wharenui.

The wharenui near Opōtiki has not stood since the Napier earthquake, and a team from the University of Auckland, led by Hoete, will incorporate endangered construction knowledge called mīmiro to build a full-scale prototype timber structure.


Hoete and Māori architectonic researcher Dr. Jeremy Treadwell have designed and built the timber portals by using interlocking compression joints, instead of bolting parts together. At the same time, ropes will pull the structure to the ground like a tent.


In the testing stage, his team will collaborate with the School of Engineering to pull the vertical portals sideways using a winch off Professor Jason Ingham’s jeep. This will test the horizontal strength while the vertical strength is tested using water weights.


The most important carvings representing the iwi’s ancestors were saved from the wreckage and remarkably stored in a shed at the marae for nine decades.

During a wānanga held at Waioweka Marae last year, Hoete’s team attached the carvings to a scaffolded framework before LiDAR scanned the framework with lasers to create an accurate record of the physical dimensions of each carving. This information could then inform the reconstruction of Tānewhirinaki.


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Hazards Earthquake
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