Public Good Award

Fly 17 Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa

Public Good Award 2021 Credits
  • Creative Director
    Johnson McKay
  • Team Members
    Storm Smith, Malachi McKay, Niki Chu, Tanya Smith
  • Contributors
    Tim Hansen, Graham Tipene, Mātahi Brightwell
  • Client
    Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage

Te Urungi Innovating Aotearoa expresses balance between nature and navigator, science and spirit to reveal a new vision for the future of art, culture and heritage in Aotearoa.

With $60 million in funding over three years, Manatū Taonga had developed a te ao Māori approach to enable arts, culture and heritage to adapt and thrive. Rather than filling out forms and waiting for funding approval (or not), the creative sector are invited to attend immersive, collaborative wānanga events, to develop bold ideas together. Bringing together teams and individuals with different skills, experiences and perspectives they develop innovative projects to address challenges around sustainability, commercial opportunities, access and participation.

We worked closely over several months with a waka hourua expert, Matahi Brightwell (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Arawa) to fully understand how traditional knowledge provides insights into connections between nature and navigator, science and spirit. Following the migrating Toroa and Tavake, who are following the schools of Kanae. Being inspired and guided by kaitiaki star constellations and Tohorā (whales).

Te Urungi is named after the steering paddle from a waka hourua, the voyaging waka. A 20 foot tall paddle with great power. The Urungi paddle combines art, science, technology and spirit. It is where the energy of Tāwhirimātea (wind) and the power of Tangaroa (ocean) converge. The steerer grasps Te Urungi and plunges it into the water, it starts to vibrate, transforming the natural elements into purposeful power and momentum. Connecting navigator and nature.

Kia rapahoe te uru, anō he matimati nō Tangaroa ā te Toi. When the blade of the steering paddle, Te Urungi plunges into the water, it becomes the creative fingers of Tangaroa.

Likewise creators and innovators are invited to harness their shared energy to define a new future.

We wanted to express the harnessing of two great energies in our creative process. So we brought together Graham Tipene, a customary Māori design expert (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Haua) and Tim Hansen (Ngāti Pākehā) a contemporary artist and graphic designer to wānanga and co-design together.

An artwork was created to express the mana of our two great atua, Tāwhirimātea and Tangaroa converging on the Urungi paddle. These two motifs are able to be repeated or reflected, similar to kōwhaiwhai. Applied with spot uv across artworks and booklets they are always present, providing inspiration. Celestial and marine life represent Manatū Taonga and the creative community providing stability and guidance to the art, culture and heritage sector. The logo brings all these layers together in a simple, bold identity. This shows the flexibility of mātauranga Māori to be expressed in customary and modern forms.

An actual mini Urungi paddle was carved inspired by the original and taken across the country to wānanga workshops.

Animated content, print and digital campaign content ensured the story of Te Urungi is being well told, inviting the creative community to join the journey in innovating Aotearoa.

Kia eke, eke panuku, eke Tangaroa e!