The marae has been recessed into the land, another marae tradition which has fallen away in more recent times.
"I am creating a landscape design that will incorporate Maori studies and surrounding natural features," says Lyonel.
As part of stage two of the project, the marae will be surrounded by an energy efficient "working landscape" that will develop the natural habitat and promote climatic cooling. It will make use of recycled, locally sourced and low-energy materials as well as low-maintenance planting and sculptured "rain gardens", to help increase awareness of the need for water and energy conservation, and other environmental issues.
The completed marae will also feature a "green roof", shaped like a giant manaia figure that will dominate the site. The roof will provide a habitat for birds and insects, improve air quality and reduce stormwater runoff by 75 percent.
Above: A tatou moemoea – Our future aspirations