Celia Hall has carried out a research project exploring possible designs for the construction of a learning garden.
Celia Hall has been involved in the University’s Summer Research Scholarship scheme and carried out a research project exploring possible designs for the construction of a learning garden within Wellington’s central city.
Celia worked alongside Wellington City Council and representatives of local mana whenua (Māori tribal groups), and her project looked specifically at rākau rongoā, a facet of traditional Māori healing that harnesses the properties of native plants as herbal remedies.
“There is a growing interest in traditional Māori medicine and indigenous knowledge. However, the effects of globalisation and urbanisation have put cultural knowledge and traditions at risk of erosion,” says Celia.
“With that in mind, the designs for the garden focused on how the public could learn more about New Zealand’s cultural and ecological history. The hope was that by informing people about the lesser-known qualities of New Zealand’s native plants species, it could create an enhanced feeling of respect and encourage people to advocate for the conservation of both indigenous knowledge and ecology.”
The design proposal included planting plans and signage and identified barriers to its implementation such as plant collection and harvesting. Celia’s design proposal will serve as a foundation for Wellington City Council to develop.
Celia completed a Graduate Diploma in Designed Environments as a bridging pathway between her undergraduate qualification and the Master’s programme so that she could pursue a career in landscape architecture.
“I’ve always been interested in environmental design psychology. Coupling this with my love of plants and passion for ecological restoration, landscape architecture is the perfect synergy of my interests. I feel lucky to be able to study alongside like-minded people.”