Whare

Māori houses and huts are called whare. Almost everyone else in New Zealand seems to be building their houses without giving thought to sustainability.

The building style in New Zealand is reminiscent of the US. Many houses, especially on the outskirts of Auckland, are thin-walled and seem to have been built as a minimum-viable-home — not in size, but in style. There's lots of thin wood.

An advantage here is the safety against earthquakes. But mainly, a building plot here is expensive, and so is labour. Almost only extravagant houses are sturdy, with thick wood. The building style is not uniform, and there doesn't seem to be a general plan to it, as there is no history as in Europe.

Inside, insulation is often achieved with thick curtains. The replacement of heat-generating legacy bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs has made many houses cold and mouldy. Power outlets all have switches with indicator lights.


Māori have building standards and use simple, but thick wood for their walls. Their houses are only as large as necessary but beautifully painted. Whare architecture carries cultural meaning and history.