One of the fundamental bases on which any society is organised is that of locality, since certain spatial relations are inherent in the very nature of every group, whether settled or migratory. And the great importance of association in common locality is that it represents not merely a physical fact, but also leads to the formation of a whole body of psychological bonds, due to the common interests of the members and their contact in everyday life. Among the Māori the local group, patent to the eye of every observer, is the village [te kāinga].
1929 Raymond Firth Economics of the New Zealand Maori
In Precolonial Aotearoa, te kāinga was the principle form of community. In the 21st century, it offers a useful framework for a sustainable future – updated to address the pressing needs of a technology-based society.
21st C. Kainga
In every era and in every part of the planet, except our own, people inherently understood how to design communities. In Aotearoa, it was called the Kainga. In Old Europe it was called the Market Town.
But whatever the name, its fundamental characteristics were human-scaled. They began with a self-supporting local economy, but the economy was a means to a good life, not an end it itself. People developed a social identity by proximity. They developed skills and traded the output of their work. They took care of their own.
Today New Zealand is facing the effects of global population growth. Unaffordable housing, climate change, gridlock in Auckland transport, the list goes on. Even the recent COVID pandemic is a product of a transport-based society.
Instead of viewing these potentially catastrophic challenges as something to be feared, view them as an opportunity to build new communities based on timeless development patterns that can thrive and enable its people and communities to provide for their well-being.
Executive Summary for Kainga Ora
What does Kainga Ora Mean?
Kainga is a word found in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Kainga is one of the three most important values the Rangatira sought to preserve. It is what today is called a development model – a way of living. It translates to village or town, where its primary qualities were:
- Self Contained – Clearly defined boundaries, and due to the time – no cars within
- Self Supporting – A local economy
- Self Operating – Local control over local matters
Ora means healthy, fit, well, alive – in a state of wellbeing, and when combined with Kainga, means a community that is providing for its social, economic, cultural and environmental wellbeing, health and safety.
We propose a 21st century Kainga
A Kainga is
a community built upon a self-supporting local economy where all activity is local. No cars within, no outbound commuters. It is a complete (not elite) community for all ages, stage and walks of life. It is an answer to housing affordability for all, to climate change, traffic congestion, and is designed to keep its economy and society going in a pandemic. It’s practical, doable and ready to go.