This Fresh from the Field by Strategy Christchurch is a reflection of people, place and culture expressed as a contemporary Tukutuku celebrating TEDxChristchurch new home (the iconic Christchurch Town Hall) and their 10th year. Te Ao Māori narrative informs the intricate design created in partnership with Ngāi Tūāhuriri, the result is an exceptionally beautiful, sensitive and thoughtful design execution.
Celebrating their 10th anniversary in their new home (the iconic Christchurch Town Hall), TEDxChristchurch wanted to weave Te Ao Māori narrative into their 2019 event, and the resulting design campaign surrounding it. In close consultation and respectful partnership with Ngāi Tūāhuriri as mana whenua, the theme of Tūrangawaewae (the intrinsic relationship between a person and the place they feel most empowered and connected) was chosen.
Working in collaboration with artist Morgan Mathews-Hale, we created a flag as a universal symbol that connects people to place. Tūrangawaewae is represented here as a contemporary version of a tukutuku panel. Tukutuku were traditionally ornamental woven panels found in a wharenui (meeting house), designed with a complex language of visual symbols. Forms relate to mythologies, and the stories vary between iwi. The importance of tukutuku to TEDxChristchurch was the relationship to storytelling and importance of content.
Our tukutuku design was formed from individual X’s — referencing the event (TEDx and 10 years), and the weaving patterns found in tukutuku.
The design features contemporary koru forms that represent Ngā Tangata (our people). Aramoana (waves) represent the various bodies of water that sustain our takiwā (region). There is specific importance of wai (water) and its mauri (life force) to Tūrangawaewae. This importance lies in the sustainability of our outer world, our environment, and our inner world. The purapura whetū (stars) above are a representation of our ‘inner’ sense of Tūrangawaewae, through individual direction and aspirations. This particular whetū depicts Matariki — our winter star — and is a direct reference to Ngāi Tūāhuriri, alongside Maukatere (Mt Grey).
The initial expectation was that the tukutuku design would then be applied within a graphic design system. But we want to take this learning experience to push ourselves further, immersing our team in Te Ao Māori. We wanted to further explore the theme of biculturalism by weaving a pakeha element into the narrative.
Understanding that tūrangawaewae is the intrinsic relationship between a person and the place they feel most empowered and connected to, we asked ourselves; how do people show where they belong? Our answer was with a flag. But instead of representing a person’s ownership of a place, we wanted this flag to represent the ownership that a place can have over a person. A flag that became a symbol of someone’s personal relationship with a place or landmark. ‘I belong to this place. It is a part of me.’
We worked with Nancy Zhou to create a series of photographs of people holding the flag at their personal tūrangawaewae. Cameron Haylock, for example, belonged to Matuku Takotako (Sumner Beach). These images became the core visual used across communications. We also created a short video with Resonate, featuring Dame Aroha Hōhipera Reriti-Crofts a highly respected and prominent wahine holding the flag outside her marae, with her voice explaining the concept of tūrangawaewae. This was played at the beginning of the event day, introducing the audience to the overarching theme behind the day’s talks.
Instagram @strategychristchurch @TEDxChristchurch