Our beautiful arching roof sets Te Awa apart from most enclosed malls that have traditionally been boxy, closed in and totally reliant on artificial lighting. But it’s more than just a window to the sky.
As our tile floors represent the river flowing beneath your feet, the bulkheads above the stores and the soaring, niho taniwha patterned roof above represent the river banks and the canopy of the native forest growing on the banks and leaning over to shade the awa. The effect is clear on sunny days in particular as light pours through the diffused roof treatment, dappling light and shade onto the water (tiles) below.
(Light is diffused through the native canopy onto the water below)
Between canopy (roof) and water (tile floor), the store bulkheads represent the river banks along which Maaori walked to meet, trade and gather food. Ancient riverbanks would have been thick with Kahikatea and Podocarp trees, home to birds, insects and small animals.
Outside Te Awa, an ancient Maaori walking track runs alongside Te Rapa Road from the Mangaharakeke Paa to the North (where the Fonterra dairy factory now sits) with tapaahi (borrow pits) on both sides of the walkway.