Ripeka Walker

Doctor of Philosophy candidate


The mana (power) of my ancestors is derived from crossing the cultural divide and making the indigenous world intelligible to others. This intergenerational obligation persists in my own research and practice.

Registered since 2009, Ripeka is a practicing architect specialising in the delivery of public buildings. Her built work spans justice, adult education, community and health sectors. Ripeka’s enduring research interest lies in the civic realm as a communication field. The cultural grounding for this work is the ātea and its temporal activation through the protocol of pōwhiri - the Māori ritual of encounter. After living and working on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung for 12 years, Ripeka commenced a Doctor of Philosophy (by research) in 2021. Her scholarly contribution comes at the nexus of theory and practice in a time of superdiversity and the ecological reckoning.

Additional biographical information is available here.

Ko Ngāti Porou me Te Whakatōhea āku iwi.

Thesis: Tāringa Kōhatu: Activation of the Civic Realm through Cultural Protocol

Broadly, the thesis explores the metaphysical nature of place and examines the effect of the ontological break in western perceptions of the spatio-temporal. With reference to critical phenomenology, structuration and third space, a decolonising methodology is used to explore theoretical concepts in parallel with indigenous practice.

Relying upon a cosmopolitan identity, the thesis considers what ongoing hegemony and subversions may be operating as indigenous visibility increases in the contemporary urban context of New Zealand. It considers how Māori, as either lead agents or stakeholder, are utilising their knowledge to re-inscribe the civic realm. As our cities increasingly turn to indigenous-led solutions to complex global problems, the thesis seeks to understand the constraints in which the profession of architecture and urban design operate.

This research is supported by a Research Training Program Scholarship provided by the Australian Commonwealth Government and the University of Melbourne.

He tautoko mai i Waipapa Taumata Rau ina koa a Prof. Deidre Brown.


  • Architecture, Urban Design, Indigenous Practice

Principal supervisor


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