Carinnya is a New Zealand-born-Samoan from the villages of Fasito’o-uta, Moata’a and Solosolo. Currently based in Pōneke, Wellington New Zealand, Carinnya is a Registered Architect and Cultural Design Lead at Designgroup Stapleton Elliott (DGSE), She holds a tulafale-ali’i chief title of Ti’afelelea’i from her father’s village, Fasito’o-uta. Carinnya’ s work to date has been in the sectors of community, education, transport, and more recently social housing. This work has naturally drawn on her strengths in the cultural design space and co-design with Tangata Whenua and Tangata Moana (Pacific) communities. Working with indigenous communities as clients and project partners has developed a strong advocacy for indigenous rights through care and respect in every stage of the design and construction process.
Outside of practice, Carinnya has an interest in exploring what architecture can do beyond the tangible build. This has led to opportunities to present research on an inter-sector rebuild strategy for the Pacific Islands following natural disasters as well as governance roles as a New Zealand Delegate to the Young Pacific Leaders Forum in Hawaii in 2017 and in Suva, Fiji in 2018. For the last 7 years, Carinnya has worked as a tutor and guest lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington for the 3rd Year Architecture course: Pacific Designed Environments/ Ngā Taiao o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.