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.

  • Youth Intern

    Aroha is from three beautiful valleys called Otaua, Taheke and Waima and is a youth volunteer in the Kaikohe office. While studying design, economics, and law via Kura Correspondence she also brings creativity and leadership to the ĀKAU kaupapa. A keen painter, Aroha spends much of her free time with a brush in her hand and loves admiring art as well. One day she hopes to have her own business or to be a teacher, maybe even both.

  • Business administrator

    As well as working across both business administration and youth engagement at ĀKAU, Marci-Lee is currently in her final year of a Graduate Diploma of Business Transformation and Change. Marci-Lee is passionate about the taitamariki in her community and creating pathways for their future.

  • Youth Intern

    Ramon brings a great creative buzz to the Kaikohe office with his outstanding talent for graphic design and illustration. He’s involved with workshop design and facilitation, composing captivating marketing campaigns and connecting with our taitamariki. In his spare time Ramon creates beautiful clothing graphics.

  • Architectural Graduate - MArch (Hons)

    As a graduate, Kelly is involved in the project execution side of our work. With her interest in alternative housing solutions, architecture as political activator and the relationship between architecture and education, the ĀKAU kaupapa is a great fit.

  • Architectural Assistant - BAS

    Descending from Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngaa Rauru ki Tahi, Maia was born and raised in Rotorua. Based in the Auckland studio and currently smashing a Master of Architecture at Unitec, she is passionate about Māori housing and communities, rangatahi engagement and indigenous environmental practices.

  • ‘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.