15 Apr 2013

Building design industry calls for more Maori influence

6:45 am on 15 April 2013

The lead architect of the new Tuhoe tribal headquarters says his company has been fortunate to hire some Maori graduates who are changing the way the industry is thinking.

Jasmax former director Ivan Mercep said Tuhoe gave them a challenging brief to create New Zealand's first ever so-called "living building" Te Whare Hou o Tuhoe which is being built near Taneatua in Bay of Plenty.

He said hiring Maori graduates at his firm has opened them up to being more receptive to iwi, but he says there is still room for more tangata whenua influence.

Mr Mercep said Jasmax, which is based in Auckland, has made a conscious effort to get more involved with tribal activities around the city and is open to approaches from Maori.

He said having more Maori students who become part of their consultative team has been very advantageous, and they are calling for more tangata whenua to become architects.