After visiting the iconic Te Wharehou o Tūhoe building in Tāneatua, 13-year-old Haeora Boynton-Rata, made a firm promise to become an architect. It's news that reached the Jasmax team, designers behind the one-of-a-kind building, and today Haeora's family found themselves spending the day with their architects.
Haeora Boynton-Rata spends much of his time drawing, and four years ago as a nine-year-old, he figured out a career path where he can do just that.
“I also like to build houses for my whanau and like these cool as houses and so I can get heaps of money and so I can help my whanau and that.”
But it was Haeora's more recent experience of Tūhoe's Whare Hou that reignited his aspiration to become an architect.
“It was like cool as, and I was amazed, and all of the designs and everything was made from the locals and that, and it was cool.”
His mother Tina wrote a letter to the team at Jasmax, the firm behind designing the one of a kind building in Taneatua thanking them for inspiring both her sons.
“They had Māori architects that were involved in the building so I wanted Haeora to be able to see a Māori male who is an architect. So that he could picture himself there maybe one day so he knows so he's seen the reality.”
Her letter led to an invite to her family by the Waka Maia team of Jasmax, the group responsible for infusing Māori concepts into the company's projects.
Jasmax representative Rameka Alexander-Tu'inukuafe says, “We hope that he can walk away knowing that there's an opportunity, that he can see that there are young rangatahi Māori in the field. Also, it's about building relationships with te ao Pākehā as well and been able to work in a mainstream world as well.”
Waka Maia member Brendan Himona, also of Tūhoe descent worked on Te Whare Hou with the late architect principal, Ivan Mercep.
“You know I've worked for, studied for five years, and now I've worked for ten years and I haven't really seen another Tūhoe come through the same process. I know there are others out there but for someone to approach us in the way his mother sent the letter you know that's really inspiring and refreshing.”
The drive behind Haeora's ambitions for becoming an architect is crystal clear.
“The only reason is just drawing and I like drawing and that,” says Haeora.
To acknowledge the opportunity to be inspired by some of the country's top architects, the family presented them with three stones from Tauranga river in Waimana blessed by their grandfather representing the past and the future.