Elisapeta Heta

“What drives all work I do – architectural, strategic governance, mentorship, business development – has to come from the puna (source) of integrity, generosity and a reflection of people and place. My whakapapa and my design thinking are inextricably linked. For me, nothing but beauty springs from the land and it’s our job to honour it architecturally.”

Since joining Jasmax in 2015, Elisapeta has worked mainly on projects in the Education (tertiary and secondary) and Cultural and Civic sectors. She views the work Jasmax is involved in as an opportunity to further her passion for design that is driven by quality place-based understanding.

Elisapeta is one of the founding members of Waka Māia, Jasmax's team of dedicated design professionals who specialise in engaging mana whenua and applying the Te Aranga Māori Design Principles. A formalised commercial offering within Jasmax, Waka Māia have been instrumental in enhancing Jasmax’s cultural capacity and understanding of tikanga and te reo to both internal and external audiences, and providing a knowledge resource to Jasmax.

Some recent projects which Elisapeta has been involved in, both as part of the design team and facilitating mana whenua engagement, include World Expo 2020 Dubai; NZ Pavilion, Western Springs College and The University of Waikato’s Marae and Multipurpose Facility. Elisapeta takes every opportunity to mentor, support and run outreach programmes for Māori and Pacific Island youth. She is motivated to show that it’s possible to achieve equal commitment to career and community.

She was co-chair in 2017-2018 of Architecture+Women, secretary 2016-2017, and a core team member since 2013. She was co-opted to the Board of the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) in 2016 as a representative of Ngā Aho – Aotearoa’s national network of Māori design professionals. In this role she helped implement Te Kawenata o Rata (a covenant) between Ngā Aho and the NZIA, recognising Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“It’s important to me to be a part of the conversations that are happening in the industry and beyond; everything I do stems from an active desire to make and support change.”