Nanogirl Labs Ltd It's All Good! | Kei te pai noa iho!

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Kate Sparks
  • Pou Rautaki / Strategic Leads
    Joe Davis, Dr Michelle Dickinson
  • Pou Taketake / Cultural Lead
    Dr Ngahuia Murphy
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Hannah Boom
  • Kaituhi Matua / Copywriter Lead
    Sarah Johnson
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Story Hemi-Morehourse
  • Client
    Ministry of Education NZ

The Ikura Initiative: Changing the Way We Talk about Menstruation

According to scientific research, one in sixteen tamariki in New Zealand start menstruating before the age of eleven. However, most menstrual health resources are tailored to students aged 12 and above, leaving these younger students underserved. The 'Its All Good!' / 'Kei te pai noa iho' comic series, released as part of the Ikura| Manaakitia te whare tangata - Period Products in Schools Initiative, aims to address this unfulfilled need.

The audience for the comic is 8-12 year old students, while the accompanying 'whānau resource' is designed for parents, teachers and school communities with the goal of educating, empowering, and normalising conversations about menstruation.

Our brief was to develop useful, accurate, positive and age-appropriate resources for ākonga (students), their whānau, and schools. The goals of the resources are to reduce the cultural stigma of shame and embarrassment around menstruation, to normalise conversations about periods, and to encourage environments of understanding, support, and empowerment.

Designed for Young Minds

Research shows that children aged 8-12 rely on their mothers and teachers as primary sources of information about menstruation. With this in mind, we created a resource that could be read independently, together with a parent, or used as an educational tool in classrooms. Each comic episode includes a child-friendly fact sheet and a ‘whānau resource’ aimed at adults. This resource encourages adults to read the comic with their tamariki and provides extra information, should they wish to start a conversation after reading. Together, the comics and whānau resources strive to change the way that adults and children communicate about menstruation.

Impact and Reach

Although the project is ongoing and only the first of five comic episodes and whānau resources have been released, 95% of schools and kura in New Zealand so far have opted into the Ikura initiative. Schools receive digital copies as episodes are released but also have the option to receive printed copies. Through schools and kura, these resources will reach approximately 300,000 students. The comics and whānau resources are also publically available online, increasing their reach.

Visual Identity: Nature and Whakapapa

Our visual identity is inspired by concepts of menstruation, conversation, growth and nature. The design assets share a similar visual style, which manifests across mediums for a cohesive experience. The bubble-like shapes resemble conversation bubbles in the comic style and support our goal of promoting conversation. We also drew inspiration from the work of mana wāhine researcher, Dr Ngahuia Murphy, incorporating soft, repeating forms reminiscent of flowing water. These elements connect to traditional Māori names for menstruation including waiwhero “the red waters” and te awa atua “water of the gods” and symbolise the continuity of whakapapa and the flow of information about menstruation between families and peers—something mirrored in Marama’s journey over the five comic episodes.