Elisapeta Hinemoa Heta

Elisapeta Hinemoa Heta (Ngātiwai, Ngāpuhi, Waikato Tainui, Sāmoan, Tokelauan) is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer, and mother, living and working in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Elisapeta’s career has spanned architecture, art, writing, film and performance, teaching and research and has resulted in a rich tapestry of collaborative works and projects that are centered in indigenous mātauranga (knowledge and ways of knowing) and tikanga (protocols and ceremony). In working through a multi-disciplinary practice, Elisapeta seeks to create experiences that make visible our stories, many of which have been hidden or eroded – with a focus on indigenous and wāhine (women) centered story-telling.

Through her art practice Elisapeta, in collaboration with photographer John Miller (Ngāpuhi), took the exhibition Pouwātū: Active Presence to the 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN 2020, and brought it home to Objectspace Gallery in Tāmaki Makaurau (March – May 2021). Pouwātū: Active Presence worked through the spatial qualities and potentiality of the wharenui (customary meeting house) to center the experience of the show in a fundamentally Māori context – spiritually and physically. Other significant exhibitions have included the work ‘He Wai: A Song?’ a soundscape by Elisapeta Heta and Lynda Simmons, which was created for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. 

Since 2015, Elisapeta has worked at architecture firm Jasmax, and is a Principal and Kaihautū Whaihanga working on multiple cultural and civic projects. She co-founded and runs the group Waka Māia, a Māori design collective that works within the practice facilitating robust engagement processes and that seek powerful design outcomes for, and with, Iwi Māori across Aotearoa. In recent years this has seen her working on New Zealand Pavilion at Expo 2020, Ngā Puna o Waiōrea Western Springs College, and City Rail Link. Recently her contributions to architecture have seen Elisapeta become published in 100 Women Architects in Practice (2023), by Harris, Parrinder, and Ravenscroft; and feature on Episode 7 of The Drawing Board a Māori Television series hosted by Derek Kawiri on modern Māori Architecture and Architects in Aotearoa New Zealand.