Client: Insight Creative
New Zealand's first Matariki national holiday marked another major step forward in the country's recognition of the unique taonga we are privileged to be part of.
To celebrate our first Matariki Māori new year holiday, we wanted to bring Kiwis closer together through greater understanding of a Māori world view (te ao). The brief was to create a set of cohesive designs that speak to three core te ao principles.
We kicked off with the single-minded theme of collaboration. It speaks of working together and understanding each other’s perspective. Its sense of co-creation allows the designer to bring their own view to traditional concepts. The theme led to the design idea of filming the creative process as our designer collaborated with Māori artist, James Molnar. A video captures the discussions, learnings and sketches as the principles of knowledge, wellbeing, and life force are explored.
The black and white video has a distinct working style, with the conversation and mark-making the focus. Simple intro and title cards add to a documentary feel. Over 3 hours of conversation are edited down to music-video length capturing the essence of the korero. The designer then took the discussion’s key learnings, visual ideas and symbolism to create three te ao graphics.
Traditional Māori knowledge is passed from generation to generation. This concept is captured in the first graphic, depicting a family of trees with deep roots. A koru element is used to express creation, learning and growth while also reflecting the designer’s own family and life journey.
The second graphic speaks to the balance of spiritual, emotional, physical and social wellbeing. There is a constant flow between each one which can become unbalanced, impacting our wellbeing. The designer focused on mental health, sadly impacting the lives of many indigenous populations. He reflects on his own experience growing up in Australia with Aboriginal childhood friends.
Mauri is the life spark or energy inherent in all living things. The third graphic captures a stylised sun, reflecting energy from the dawn of time. The energy from the sun helps grow the trees that feed us or fuel the fires that keep us warm. The energy is transferred from the sun, to the tree, to the food or the fire, and into us.
Māori shapes and patterns are at the core of all three designs but are rendered from the designer’s own perspective, making them highly personal and genuine. A black and white palette and an almost hand-painted application style put the focus on form, bring uniformity across the graphics, and link back to the video’s DIY style.
In the week leading to the Matariki holiday we held a learning session with our team where each concept and graphic were presented and the collaboration video shown. The three graphics became posters for both our offices, social media posts and an eDM wishing staff and clients a happy Matariki. The video was also shared on social media and with clients.
The response has been extremely positive, including some of our highest ever social media endorsements, with the repeated feedback that this collaboration delivers a personal pakeha take on Māori concepts and design but with universal messages and appeal.