The wisdom of diversity

Client: NZ Super Fund


NZSuper AR 2023 case study v1

Diversity has proven to be a sound strategy in nature, in the workforce and for long-term investment outcomes. It's a metaphor that the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation find applies in more ways than one.

The brief 

Diversification is key to a successful investment portfolio, leading to better long-term performance outcomes. The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (the Guardians) apply this same thinking to fostering an inclusive workforce that reflects the many skills, experiences, perspectives and backgrounds of the communities they serve. It’s a wise approach that supports them to grow their organisational capability and healthy culture.

The 2023 Annual Report required a creative and messaging platform that spoke to the value of diversity.

The solution

The single-minded idea we proposed was ‘the wisdom of diversity.’ It was an idea inspired by a whakatauki (proverb), penned by Dr Hinemoa Elder, that speaks to the true value of diversity.

E koekoe te tūī, e ketekete

te kākā, e kūkū te kererū

The tūī chatters, the kākā cackles,

The kererū coos

The many birds of our native bush have different ways of communicating, different plumage and different ways of life, that all come together to create harmony and a vibrant thriving ecosystem. This became the creative storytelling metaphor applied to both messaging and design.

Our metaphor starts on the cover with a bird’s eye view of a New Zealand native bush. This opens to a series of spreads that tell the core diversity story while showcasing the wonderful mix of flora and fauna and humans below the canopy. A layered textural approach – where elements overlap and share spaces – is applied to represent the co-existence and interdependence of each element in this ecosystem.

A secondary graphic element allowed us to directly connect the metaphor to the Guardians. The collection of geometric shapes form the Guardians’ employee value proposition and symbolise the notion that, “whatever shape you are, you will fit in here.” The overall layout is informed by the use of these shapes, becoming interconnected framing devices.

The section dividers throughout the document continue the metaphor and layered visual approach. Each one celebrates a bird, or a particular aspect of our native bush, while also featuring a human element to bring that connection back to the people the Guardians are investing for.

Elsewhere, the geometric shapes were combined in unique and playful ways to create a collection of bird graphics that are used to highlight individual diversity and inclusiveness actions and approaches.

A wide colour palette further reinforces the key diversity message, taking inspiration from colours that may be found within a typical New Zealand native bush.

The result

The report won the 2024 Australasian Annual Reporting Awards (ARA) Report of the Year and was also named the best report in the Financial Services Sector. This is the third time they’ve won the top prize in the last four years. The judges commented that the Guardians demonstrated that they understand and value the diversity of their staff, and the benefits that diversity brings.

The report has also received very strong feedback from a variety of the Guardians’ stakeholders, noting its clear themes and messages, and its cohesive design approach.