We create awesomeness in communities throughout Aotearoa by engaging taitamariki in the design of real projects.

Ka tūtaki ai te wai ki te whenua

To us, ĀKAU is the place where water meets land.

  • WAI | water

    Be fluid! We continually learn and adapt what we do to better ourselves, our taitamariki and our community.

  • WHENUA | land

    Be grounded! We value where we all come from. We cultivate lasting relationships based on honesty and warmth.

  • TŪTAKI | meeting point

    Connect! We bring people, places and ideas together.



Keep up to date with the latest ĀKAU workshops, projects and news!


Meet our Whānau

  • Co-founder - BDesn – Interior Architecture (Hons)

    Following extensive experience as an interior architect in Aotearoa and overseas, Ana moved to Kaikohe in 2014 motivated to create change through youth engagement. With both parents buried in Ngawha, her personal story drives the ĀKAU Kaupapa. As a strong connection between ĀKAU and the local community, Ana steers our waka with integrity and warmth.

  • Co-founder – MArch (Distinction) ANZIA ARBV

    As an award winning registered architect with more than 14 years experience, Felicity uses her creative and technical skills to take ĀKAU projects from dream to reality. Managing the ĀKAU studio with precision and passion, she ensures that every built project is a success.

  • Co-founder – MArch (Hons)

    Ruby is an exceptional artist and architectural designer, with extensive experience in youth and community engagement. She is adept at connecting with taitamariki and coming up with innovative teaching methods. Continually adapting ĀKAU’s philosophy, Ruby keeps our youth programmes fresh, fun and productive.

  • Non-executive director

    This title sounds flash – and it is. Colin currently works in financial regulation keeping an eye on big corporations. He brings to our board years of experience in governance, finance and legal matters.

  • Programme Manager

    Mere has extensive experience throughout Te Taitokerau in the areas of Māori, youth and community development. She brings her passion and skills in Māori visual art, creativity and music to the ĀKAU kaupapa as an ĀKAU facilitator and programme manager.

  • ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.’ This whakatauki underpins the values of Tukaha’s practice when working within the community. As a youth mentor, program developer and program facilitator he is often tasked with creating opportunities for whānau to engage in positive and proactive kaupapa. Tukaha works within a predominantly Māori community. Utilizing Māori values he is able to create forums that are safe and inclusive. Fluent in Te Reo and with extensive experience across research, project management and facilitation, Tukaha uses the process of whakawhanaunga as the basis for his work with whānau.

  • BMVA, GDipTchg(Secondary)

    A descendant of Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou and Tainui, Makareta is a communicator and teacher. She specialises in both traditional and contemporary Māori Art, Te Reo, and Māori Tikanga. The inspiration for Makareta’s work is to nurture our youth so that they stand strong as future leaders in this changing world.

  • Junior Designer

    Symphony is an artist of many genres that uses contemporary tools and materials. Her design elements are based on Toi Maori and are often inspired by whakairo, ta moko and her exploration in graphic design. This has led her to explore her interests in history and natural materials within Aotearoa. Empowered by wāhine ringatoi nō Ngāpuhi, Symphony embraces her own Māori identity through her toi. These encounters have formed a stronger connection to her whenua and Papatuanuku through the use of customary materials and the investigation of kōkōwai, waitae and mahi aute.