National | Architecture

Ngāi Tahu architect appointed first Māori president of NZ Institute of Architects

Huia Reriti Photo/ Dean Mackenzie.

Huia Reriti (Ngāi Tahu) will be the first Māori president of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, having studied and worked in the field for more than 40 years.

“I feel very proud and privileged to be the next president. I believe it’s time to show my gratitude and to impart my experience and knowledge of what I have learned,” Reriti says.

“Anything I do, my mum and taua have guided me and will continue to guide me,” Reriti says.

Sixty-year-old Reriti lives in Christchurch and says he never imagined he would be in this position.

He claims his mother, the late Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts, had a significant influence on his accomplishments.

He is his mother’s youngest son and she was a former president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League.

Huia Reriti celebrating with his whanau

“The journey to get here is through simply studying and working with very talented people, especially those colleagues and mentors both academically and professionally who have shaped not only my mind but shared their vision on architecture. I have never considered any other career,” Reriti says.

Plans to champion Māori

“I will be championing Māori and other ethnicities at every chance or steps possible as I believe it will serve only to enrich the lives of our membership,” he says.

Outgoing president, Judith Taylor, says she has no doubts about the smooth transfer of power to him.

“Huia is an architect of considerable ability, and he is widely respected by his peers. It is also exciting to welcome our first Māori president at a time when talented indigenous architects are achieving international acclaim for their work,” Taylor says.

“Huia will bring visibility to architecture as a viable career choice for more Māori students, which is a great thing,” she says.

Architect Peter Townsend, who is the Auckland branch chair, studied with Reriti at Auckland University, and that he is not surprised that he’s been made president.

“There is literally a clean slate from which to rebuild the organisation and he’s the right man to do that,” says Townsend.

“He’s well aware of what needs to happen and what should happen. It will be a different national office in a year or two and he will do a great deal to create that,” he says.

Huia will assume the presidency in a ceremony that will take place in Christchurch.