Elisapeta was appointed through her involvement in Ngā Aho, Aotearoa’s national network of Māori design professionals. Elisapeta’s tribal affiliations are Waikato Tainui and Ngāti Wai (on her father’s side) and Samoan-Tokelauan-English on her mother’s side.
A Kawenata (Covenant) between Ngā Aho and the New Zealand Institute of Architects has been drawn up, and will be signed at the NZIA conference, In:situ thisFebruary.
“This covenant sets a benchmark,” Elisapeta says. “It is about recognition of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It outlines Ngā Aho and the NZIA members’relationship, and duties to the Treaty. It is empowering.”
Elisapeta is a strong believer that it is important to have people who has achieved in leadership, visible to Māori. Overall, she says that many organisations and architectural practices in New Zealand have a long way to go in responding to the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi). “There’s still a lack of understanding,” she says. “It’s not malicious, but it’s sometimes offensive."
“My job in a leadership position on the Council of the New Zealand Institute of Architects is to be part of the solution, not the problem. That’s why I’m honoured to serve on the Board: it’s an active move to help make change.”
Since joining Jasmax, Elisapeta has been an instrumental part of the team to set up Waka Māia, Jasmax’s Māori cultural navigation group alongside Rameka Alexander-Tu’inukuafe, Brendan Himona and Haley Hooper. It is believed that Elisapeta is one of the youngest board members ever.