Kātoitoi takes flight

7 months ago by

Kātoitoi, the Aotearoa Design Archive, is a response to our world, our collective voice.

Like the South Island Robin which the Aotearoa Design Archive is named after, our design community is small but speaks with a large, brave voice that reverberates throughout the world. “Kātoitoi, he iti te rahi, he nui te kōrero.


Kātoitoi is pronounced: car-toy-toy, the animation of the wordmark above operates by syllable, moving as it sounds. In te reo Māori, Kātiotoi has two relevant meanings. It is a verb meaning “to respond”, which speaks to the dialogue the archive seeks to encourage between designer and medium, between work and audience, between the individual and the national. Kātiotoi is also the name of the South Island Robin, a small inquisitive bird with a loud voice.

Piloted with funding support from Creative New Zealand, The inaugural archive invites submissions from our Aotearoa design community, for work completed during 2020.

Kātoitoi the Aotearoa Design Archive will examine emerging trends, shifting values, to build professional archaeology of our people and practice, with an annual collection of design artefacts across the following outputs and kaupapa;

  • Motion – Kori
  • Packaging – Pūhera
  • Publication – Pukapuka
  • Digital Design – Toi Matihiko
  • Environmental – Kaupapa Taiao
  • Identity – Tuakiri
  • Typography – Momotuhi
  • Self-initiated – Tāku kaupapa
  • Student – Ākonga
  • Campaign – Pānuitanga
  • Identity – People & Culture
  • Identity – Place
  • Identity – Politics & Action
  • Innovation – Technical
  • Innovation – Methodological
  • Innovation – Philosophical
  • Impact – Social Good
  • Impact – Environmental Stewardship
  • Impact – Reach / Results / ROI
  • Wildcard – Unique Projects


Year by year, Kātoitoi will record the countries economic, cultural and social development through the lens of design. Becoming a valuable resource for research and critical reflection, supported through a series of commissioned interviews, critical essays and artworks.

Take your place in our national design conversation. Submit your work here.

Submissions open today and close midnight March 9th. 

  • From March 10th an impartial panel of design leaders will consider and evaluate each design based on the projects impact, innovation, craft, and kaupapa.
  • The 2020 archive be revealed, discussed and celebrated on March 31st with online and in-person exhibition and Korerō events held nationally throughout April.
  • Our community will respond to the selected work through a series of interviews, critical essays, peer reviews and visual artworks to be published on katoitoi.nz to form a body of research and knowledge around our practice and practitioners today.

Submissions cost $60 per project for individual design professionals, agencies and studios. DA Friends receive a 50% discount on their submissions fees.

Kātoitoi is also offering 50 scholarship (free) submissions to designers who are currently experiencing financial hardship or became unemployed between 1st of April 2020 and 31st of March 2021, so if the submission fee is a barrier to enter your work, please email nicole@designassembly.org.nz by February 23rd for details.

Kātoitoi, the Aotearoa Design Archive, is a Design Assembly initiative, co-founded by Louise Kellerman and Nicole Arnett Phillips. The identity, campaign and website were executed through a co-design process with Karl Wixon (Arahia), Johnson McKay (Fly), Studio South, New Territory and Mark Easterbrook (Words & Ideas).

The audio of our Kātoitoi dawn call was captured in Lewis Pass, August 1973, by Les McPherson. Click the Play/Pause on https://www.katoitoi.nz/ to hear its song.

Tip: The macron in our wordmark will switch you between light and dark mode on https://www.katoitoi.nz/


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