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 programs fresh, fun and productive.
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.
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.
Facilitator - 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.
Marita is a landscape architect with a decade's worth of experience in Aotearoa. Marita brings public realm expertise to ĀKAU, helping turn taitamariki ideas into in fun and engaging landscapes. With an ability to see the big picture and pull complex stories together, Marita has strong strategic masterplanning skills, which she puts to use for urban and rural hāpori in Te Taitokerau.
Architect and Project Manager - MArch (Professional)
Since graduating in 2015, Gwena has found herself working in architecture, project management, a villa renovation in Italy, on farms and milking goats! Always chasing adventure, questioning what it means to be tangata tiriti, with a passion for language, organisation, and creating positive change in the community, Gwena has found a home at ĀKAU in Kaikohe.
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.
Dina is from Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine, and Taranaki Tūturu. With a degree in Politics and Māori studies and plans to study Māori visual arts she hopes to bring all these passions alive through ĀKAU. She took part in the Toi Ngāpuhi programme Tai o Hī! Tai o Hā! 2021 which reignited her love for toi Māori. She aspires to achieve positive outcomes and opportunities for Taitamariki within Te Taitokerau and her hapori through Toi Māori.