This Fresh From The Field by Manatū Taonga (the Ministry of Culture & Heritage) proudly documents colourful evidence of the organisations mahi.
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Manatū Taonga supports the cultural sector in arts, culture, heritage, sport, and broadcasting, and funds agencies such as The Royal New Zealand Ballet and Radio New Zealand. The Ministry also researches the history of Aotearoa to produce online resources and books, and looks after our national treasures. It’s a small ministry, but it has a wide reach and a big heart.
The brief for the 2018/19 Annual Report was simple: “can you make this look good for us please?”
There were the usual requirements to have a performance section at the front and financials at the back, and a few public sector specifications we had to comply with for it to be tabled at Parliament. But other than that, we were given the time and trust to do what we wanted.
The Design Studio Response
As the brief was very open, Senior designer Flavia Rose made a list of non-negotiables that she wanted to achieve. The most important was to make the 2018/19 Annual Report a place where Manatū Taonga staff could see their work reflected with pride. Previous reports had been very no-frills – mostly black and white with a few small photos – she spent hours tracking down photo permissions and credits so that the report was full of colourful evidence of their mahi. Embellishing pages with illustrations to break up the grid and add a handmade touch.
Once the Ministry’s mahi was front and centre inside the report, the next problem was the cover. It was clear that they couldn’t use one nice photo on the cover when we were trying to represent every aspect of the diverse cultural sector inside. Flavia discovered shots of a printmaking workshop at a Matariki celebration, where Ministry kaimahi produced beautiful and meaningful artworks. Julie, an advisor for the Ministry, led the workshop. Emma made a print of Pukeahu, where she works at the War Memorial and Education Centre. Matene carved a big ‘M’ for Manatū Taonga and Malama created four patterns inspired by her Tongan roots. Cherie depicted the view from her bedroom and Martha illustrated a woman contemplating a rainy night during Matariki.
Flavia emailed everyone who produced a print, and the next day they brought in their delicate pieces of art to scan. The prints use a traditional art technique, so they ticked the culture, art and heritage boxes. A beautiful linen paper stock was chosen for the cover, recalling the textured paper the artworks were originally printed on. “I’m particularly proud of the cover because I think using artwork made by Manatū Taonga staff emphasizes that their hands have literally brought about the initiatives inside,” says Flavia.
Flavia Rose – Senior designer
Katie Cheer – Designer