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Jasmax Wins Accolade For Cultural Diversity And Engagement

We are very proud to announce that Jasmax have won the Cultural Celebration category at the Diversity Works NZ Awards. This award showcases authentic responses to cultural and ethnic engagement in the workplace across all business sectors nationwide. The win recognises Jasmax’s demonstrated application of deepening and amplifying cultural design outcomes in the built environment across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Diversity Works says: “The business is not only striving to create better cultural design outcomes, but is embedding a bicultural strategy at the heart of the practice.”

A crucial part of this is Waka Māia, a Māori cultural design and advisory team founded in 2015 to provide an authentically Māori design voice within Jasmax.

CEO Sjoerd Post says, “At Jasmax we believe that the Tiriti o Waitangi between Mana Whenua and tangata tiriti offers a powerful opportunity to create architecture and design that is unique to Aotearoa. Waka Māia are our kaihautū in that quest.”

Historically, the New Zealand architectural domain is white and male, and while the number of women in architecture is starting to increase, the same cannot be said for Māori and Pacific architects. The judges were impressed with Jasmax’s authentic commitment to changing this both within the practice, and in turn reflecting this into the built environment.

Judging convener Kirstin Te Wao says, “Waka Māia is creating an industrial legacy through Jasmax, in its role amplifying Māori contribution in architecture. The mahi the team does collaborating with Mana Whenua, strengthening Māori participation within the company's governance, and creating a space where all employees can gain a better understanding of the importance of Māori culture has been pivotal in its projects which have garnered national and international accolades.”

Since its inception five years ago, Waka Māia has worked closely with many iwi and hapū from around Aotearoa, and has a proven track record and expertise in cultural design, consultation and facilitation. One recent key project is The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus, completed in 2019, a campus unique for its bicultural focus on tertiary education.

Another significant project is Auckland’s City Rail Link, currently under construction. The CRL design won an award at the most prestigious Architecture festival in the world in 2019, the World Architecture Festival WAFX prize for Cultural Identity. CRL was designed by Jasmax and Grimshaw in partnership with Mana Whenua.

Internally at Jasmax, initiatives have been introduced to upskill staff in their knowledge of and understanding of tikanga and te reo Māori, including a bespoke Jasmax Te Ao Māori Guide, created to support staff using the language in their day-to-day work life. Cultural design workshops and lecture series with guest speakers are also offered.

CEO Sjoerd Post says, “We are very proud that our bicultural strategy and vision to lift the bar on cultural outcomes in the built environment in Aotearoa New Zealand has been recognised as leading nationwide.”

Read the case study on the Diversity Works Awards website here.

Watch the video case study of Jasmax’s Waka Māia team here.

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