Jasmax scholarship seeks to push indigenous voices to the forefront of New Zealand architecture

Jasmax is delighted to offer its scholarship for Māori and Pacific students at the University of Auckland again for 2021. The scholarship covers up to five years of study and is open to Māori and Pacific students enrolling in their first year of a Bachelor of Architectural Studies.

Jessika Varney was the first recipient of the scholarship in 2019. Jessika grew up in Lynfield, Auckland, and is of Ngāti Kahu, Ngā Puhi, Ngātiwai, and Ngāti Whātua descent. She attended Lynfield College where she excelled in visual art and photography.

"I am honoured to have received this scholarship from Jasmax. It has not only been an incredible financial help, but it has also provided me with the ease of mind to pursue my Bachelor of Architectural Studies to the best of my abilities. It's so awesome to see more opportunities for Māori and Pasifika students and actually be a part of it," said Jessika.

At Jasmax, 52% of architectural graduates and designers hail from the University's School of Architecture and Planning. As part of her scholarship, Jessika will also have the opportunity to undertake an annual two-week internship with the practice, when she will shadow and participate in project work, and spend valuable time with the Waka Māia team.

During her studies, Jessika is looking forward to exploring indigenous design with a view to addressing climate biodiversity and housing issues. She hopes that her degree will see her opening her own architectural and interior design business where she can implement all she has learned from her studies, and time spent at Jasmax.

Professor Deidre Brown (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kāhu), the world's first Māori Professor of Architecture and Head of the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland, said the scholarship was important for the industry.

"It is vital that practitioners in professions such as architecture are representative of the society in which they work and whose environments – personal and public – they shape." 

Jasmax's support of Māori and Pasifika students through their degree and into practice is an essential strategy to ensure that more Māori practitioners and design processes enter the industry. Jasmax CEO Sjoerd Post said the scholarship reflects company's desire to grow the mana whenua and Pasifika voice in design conversations.

“At Jasmax, we believe that Te Tiriti o Waitangi between māna whenua and tangata tiriti offers a powerful opportunity to create architecture and design that is unique to Aotearoa.”

Image: Dean Carruthers