Robert Jahnke appointed as Expert Advisor – Māori

Jasmax has appointed Professor Robert Jahnke (Ngāi Taharora, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Te Whānau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou, Samoan-German-Irish) as Expert Advisor – Māori.

Professor of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University, and considered one of Aotearoa’s leading Māori artists, Professor Jahnke, brings a wealth of knowledge in the education and arts sectors in Aotearoa. In his role, Jahnke will provide guidance to Jasmax as the practice continues to embed a bicultural approach to architecture and design.

Jasmax CEO, Sjoerd Post, says Jahnke’s appointment is reflective of Jasmax’s commitment to align with Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the foundation for authentic, meaningful design outcomes.

“We are delighted Robert is has agreed to collaborate with Jasmax and look forward to all the ways this will evolve.  Robert shares our vision for a built environment that reflects Aotearoa’s bicultural foundation enshrined in Te Tiriti o Waitangi. I am personally excited to see how his deep knowledge of te ao Māori will contribute to the work we do over coming years,” says Sjoerd.  

Jahnke’s own work tackles issues of identity, colonisation and intercultural exchange. Primarily a sculptor, he seeks to explore Māori creation narratives in a multidimensional way. Post says there is a synergy between Jahnke’s work and the built environment which will be valuable to explore. Jahnke and Jasmax already share history, as Jahnke designed the stained-glass windows for the contemporary marae, Rongomaraeroa, in Te Papa Tongarewa, one of Jasmax’s seminal projects. 

In his advisory role, Jahnke will also provide mentorship to Waka Māia, Jasmax’s te ao Māori advisory group. Led by Principal Elisapeta Heta, Waka Māia is a team of Māori designers who facilitate engagement with mana whenua on projects. Recent projects Waka Māia have been instrumental in include the NZ Pavilion at Expo 2020, Dubai, and the reference designs for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s City Rail Link stations.

Jahnke says of the partnership, “Jasmax hold a holistic vision where people and place matter and are integral to the realisation of a built environment that aims to transform experience and shape culture. A vision embedded in Māori values in which te taiao is respected. I am humbled to be part of the journey towards creating an Aotearoa that truly reflects our unique place.”

Above: Professor Robert Jahnke