ĀKAU Pānui: October 2022


It’s been a time of change here at ĀKAU, new kaimahi, new pēpi, new projects and some exciting new ways of doing things. Including this newsletter/pānui which aims to be more regular, more relevant and more exciting than ever.

But first, a reminder about what we do!
ĀKAU strives to empower taitamariki around Aotearoa to feel more connected and creative so that they can navigate the future with confidence. We help taitamariki recognize and harness the creativity of their tupuna by involving them in tangible projects that have real impact for taitamariki, their whānau and their community.

Our wonderful director and co-founder Ana Heremaia is on maternity leave and recently had her beautiful pēpi Ngāwati Heremaia. We have been lucky to have had zoom meetings with Ana and Ngāwati as well as have them join us for the Te Reo Māori on the Streets launch. We will miss having Ana in the studio, but we wish her all the best!

While Felicity is still in ĀKAU at a trustee level, she has left the kaimahi realm to pursue her own architecture company and focus on project managing her own house build in Mahurangi. Luckily for Ruby she is just down the road so never too far away to wrack Felicity’s brain on ĀKAU related mahi!

Jo Walsh joined ĀKAU in June 2022. Her background in Project Management & Business Development is taking ĀKAU to the next step. We’re so happy to introduce Jo to the ĀKAU whānau!
ĀKAU Pou Hoahoa is an opportunity for an experienced designer to help lead the ĀKAU design team and develop community projects across Te Taitokerau. We’re looking for someone who has architectural experience, loves the ĀKAU kaupapa and who would be keen to join our team for 2023. Please check out our job listing and contact [email protected] with any pātai.

ĀKAU wouldn’t be where we are today without the support, advice and encouragement from people all over the show! Here’s our chance to share some of the things the people we love are up to!

We met Rui Peng, of Critical, through our journey with Foundation North. Critical takes plastic waste and turns it into beautiful and durable building materials. They are currently looking for investors to grow their company and impact. You can register your interest here.

Guy Ryan has always supported ĀKAU’s journey, right from when he gave advice to Ana and Ruby back in 2014 on how to start a social enterprise. After 10+ years he is stepping down from his role at Inspiring Stories but if you’ve got what it takes to fill his shoes, check out the CEO job vacancy here.
ĀKAU would also like to acknowledge the newly elected Councilors for the Far North District Council! Particularly our first Māori Mayor of the Far North, Moko Tepania and the Ngā Tai o Tokerau Māori Ward councillors Hilda Halkyard-Harawira, Tāmati Rākena, Penetaui Kleskovic and Babe Kapa, who will take their places beside reelected colleagues Kelly Stratford (Deputy Mayor), Ann Court, John Vujcich and Felicity Foy. And a shoutout to new members of the Northland Regional Council - Tui Shortland and Peter Lucas-Jones!


As ĀKAU evolves, so do our projects. Thankfully we’re back to our unique kanohi ki te kanohi papamahi. Projects that have been in the pipeline for a while are now coming to fruition and we love seeing the impact of these projects in our communities.

Te Reo Māori on the Streets- Kaikohe

ĀKAU is thrilled to announce the completion of this community project!

The main street of Kaikohe has seen buildings and surfaces uplifted with bright colours and typographic mahi toi designed by taitamariki in collaboration with artists and designers. Our community celebration held in September involved a hikoi to visit each of the installations and concluded with the launch of ‘Ngā Tapuwae a Rāhiri’ a waiata and video recorded with local taitamariki and inspired by the kupu and whakatauki used in the ‘Te Reo Māori on the Streets’ kaupapa. ĀKAU would like to acknowledge all of the taitamariki and artists who were part of this journey and all of the kaitautoko who supported us during this kaupapa!

Ngā Mihi!

A brief update on some of our other completed projects. You can see more about what we get up to on our instagram, facebook and website!

Na Wai I Teka - Kaikohe

ĀKAU designed the set for filming for Na Wai I Teka. The designs reflect ‘E Toru Hakatupuranga’ - The 3 generations that come together to hakawhiti kōrero through the kaupapa of Nā Wai I Teka. The key elements that have been created are:

01 - A whero triangular light representing the tikanga that has been handed down through the generations.
02 - The kahurangi circle table representing the energy attained through the never ending ebb and flow of kōrero.
03 - The kākāriki carpet representing Hākaro Māori and the strong foundation of this kaupapa.

Check out their weekly podcast on Facebook!

Innovating Streets - Kaikohe & Moerewa

ĀKAU took part in this kaupapa in Kaikohe and Moerewa to trial ways of slowing traffic and making streets safer for taitamariki and whānau with permanent solutions the goal for the future. Community hui identified areas of high traffic risk and offered ideas for change. Planter boxes, bright painted graphics and speed tables have all been installed to slow traffic and have seen change begin to happen!

And finally, a glimpse of what we’re currently working on. Watch this space!

Te Whatu Ora – Te Tai Tokerau (NDHB) Radiation Oncology Unit - Whangarei Terenga Paraoa

ĀKAU collaborated with Jasmax to engage Mana Whenua and Hospital Kaimahi in our unique papamahi engagement process to explore concept ideas for the Radiation Oncology Unit which Jasmax are now taking further into the design process. A good working relationship between ĀKAU and Jasmax was formed, with positive interactions and a recognition of each other’s expertise. We look forward to working with them again in the future!

Te Puna Reo o Manga Tangaroa - Kaikohe

This kaupapa is the development of a fullimmersion ECE centre in Kaikohe, inspired by Whaea Clara’s son Manga Tangaroa who has lifetime disabilities that we see as extraordinary capabilities. Te Puna Reo is currently being built and will include a fully accessible papatākaro, a whare kōrero to teach tamariki pūrakau, colours, counting and all things Te Ao Māori!

Thank you for reading our Pānui o ĀKAU, we appreciate your support. If you have a project you’d like to kōrero with ĀKAU about please get in touch.

Ngā mihi nui, Te Whānau o ĀKAU x