Samuel Bryan Whakarongo, whaakaro, kōrero

  • Tauira / Student
    Samuel Bryan
  • Kaiako / Lecturer
    Bobby Luke
  • Client
    Kahungunu Whānau Services
  • School
    Victoria University of Wellington, School of Design

Annotations (#) and page numbers sequence written and visual components.

(1) Nau mai, haere mai, whakarongo, whaakaro, kōrero.

In 2020 Kahungunu Whānau Services (KWS) partnered with a Design for Social Innovation program affording students an opportunity to design for public good.

KWS operations and services are strongly underpinned by a te ao Māori world view seeking whānau ora. To elevate whānau ora, KWS pursue mauri ora, supporting individuals and communities to self manage and participate more fully in society to become secure, cohesive, and resilient.

(2) In 2020 KWS hosted a polling station as a safe space for their whānau to participate and exercise their rights, supporting their mission. This event was the catalyst for the designed response to our partnership. I asked, how might design support people to have agency?

(3) But I toiled. I became frustrated because I wished to lift the mana of the people KWS serve. Despite academia in design and social innovation, my lived experience was dissimilar to the people I was designing with. I did not fully understand their work or how they lived, what was precious or the effect of covid 19 on their lives. After much toil, I realised that if I designed to facilitate kōrero, we might better understand each other and ourselves.

(4) Whakarongo, whaakaro, kōrero - the result of this partnership and realisation - is a card deck designed to facilitate kōrero. The cards prompt a growth in understanding of a variety of subjects, our experiences, causation, effect, and actions, enabling individual, and then collective, agency.

(5) Recognisable and widely used, emoji are utilised as iconography. In response to the use of cards (a typically gamified experience) and emoji, the deck is housed in a recycled rimu box to maintain the importance of the kōrero.

(6) Simple guidelines derived from letter writing accompany Whakarongo, whaakaro, kōrero.

Tahi - Tēnā koe, marau, aurongo.
Rua - Mātau ā-wheako,, hohenga.

(7) Maori language week was a prevalent subject while prototyping and testing. Participants celebrated adoption of te reo at work and in the media. It lifted their mana. But participants wished Aotearoa’s leadership would fight for greater everyday adoption of te reo. Whakarongo, whaakaro, kōrero opened that conversation up, distilling courses of action we might take as individuals and as a collective.

(8) Although the deck was prompted by the political events of 2020 and KWS supporting whanau to participate in the general election, the deck is adaptable. The kōrero might naturally lead to ourselves, our tamariki, our heroes or our advocates.

(9) Taking time to listen to and reflect on the kōrero which the deck iterations facilitated, my course of action as a partner of KWS was to exercise my own agency with my new understanding and write to parliament.

(10) The first intention of Whakarongo, whaakaro, kōrero was to support KWS, however, meaningful kōrero helps much more broadly because kōrero grows understanding of ourselves and each other, enabling and shifting agency to the collective.