Colenso BBDO 66 Fly Creative FutureDeluxe Franklin Rd. Ka Mua, Ka Muri

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Nick Worthington, Levi Slavin, Dan Wright, Kimberley Ragan, Dave Brady
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Logan Maire, Harry Skelton, Erin Mattingtly, Ning Zhu, Ryan Butterfield, Elle Kiddie, Liam Norris, Riki Hollings, Anaru Tuhi, Hamish Steptoe, Kees Bakker, Jodie Heron, Shane Taipari, Stefaan Van Leuven, Sidney Kennedy, James Gibb, Johnson McKay, Tim Hansen, Te Kohe Tuhaka
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Dr. Rangi Matamua, Dr. Rachael Ka'ai-Mahuta
  • Client
    Lydia Askew


Spark, NZ’s largest digital services provider, has celebrated Matariki with Aotearoa in innovative ways for years. But this year, they wanted to do more.

Together with their collaborators and Dr. Rangi Matamua, they helped all New Zealanders find a deep, personal connection with Matariki, by seeing the past as a way to influence the future.


We consulted with Dr Rangi Matamua (Ngāi Tūhoe), Dr Rachael Ka’ai-Mahuta (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu) and Spark’s Māori development leads. All of which advised us at significant touch points throughout.

We worked fluidly with our partners. Sharing our Māori design partner’s 2D design elements with our 3D build partners, who supplied them to the creative agency, who started a three-way dialogue with our audio partner; all to create one cohesive, emotional experience.


During Matariki, we reflect on whānau who live on as stars and continue to guide our journey ahead, and hope for our intentions to materialise in the new year.

It’s a philosophy all New Zealanders can connect with, which was brought to life within a digital platform, Ka Mua, Ka Muri (to walk backwards into the future). A stunning digital galaxy where anyone could share a story of remembrance or aspiration and watch it turn into a star. A moment in the experience that honours Te Waka O Rangi — the canoe that ushers our loved ones to the sky, transforming them into stars.


The experience strikes a balance of Te Ao and Te Pō (light and dark) in theory and practice, as seen in visual elements and messages of hope or reflection left as stars.

All stars were created in both a female and male form, energy and mauri — in pairs of stars that bring balance. Male stars have niho taniwha adornments, indicative of protective power and leadership. Female stars have unaunahi, expressing nurturing power and creativity.
Spirals and manaia inspire the stars’ form and tell the Ka Mua, Ka Muri story of reflection to inform the future.

The skyscape has layers of universes and galaxies connected together through a modern take on a Tukutuku pattern. This directs our gaze upwards, beyond our own planet and to our connectedness to the eternities beyond.

We wanted to add to the experience with a rich and immersive audio solution. We did this by creating a contemporary reimagining of traditional Taonga Pūoro using modern synthesisers and computers to give them cinematic audio effects. The result is a blend of tradition and technology, that retains the emotion and mana that is at the heart of traditional Māori Taonga Pūoro.

Stories and memories left in the galaxy are sacred. So karakia, written and orated by Dr. Rangi Matamua, welcomed and closed the experience.

Finally, in adherence to custom, the stars will be released from social media to the real sky at the end of the campaign, where they can be remembered forever.



The Ka Mua, Ka Muri experience helped NZ connect authentically to Matariki. But it also helped uncover better ways that our creative agency can engage with our Māori partners — taking care not to transgress tikanga, and learning from hiccups in a high-trust environment full of transparency and kindness.
Spark and their creative agency are grateful to our Māori partners for the whakawhanaungatanga journey. We now have much to reflect upon and learn from, that we can bring forward into the future, reflecting the principle of Ka Mua, Ka Muri in our minds and hearts, on our journey to create a stronger foundation where everyone benefits, but most importantly, te reo and te ao Māori.

Kanohi ki te kanohi

Māori stories and projects must, first and foremost, be told through Māori and by Māori. We drew on our trusted Māori advisors and talent to guide this project, to do our best to ensure it was created hand-in-hand with Māori.
Dr Rangi Matamua (Ngāi Tūhoe) and Dr Rachael Ka’ai-Mahuta (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu) brought their extensive mātauranga of Matariki, and importantly, their cultural guidance to ensure the experience’s narrative and principles were correctly applied.

Johnson McKay’s (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Mahuta) mātauranga of Māori art and design history was applied to our star designs, which gave them whakapapa, meaning and significance relevant to Matariki and the Ka Mua, Ka Muri story.

Kees Bakker (Te Aupōuri) brought his invaluable skills in web UX/UI to form the basis of Ka Mua, Ka Muri experience. Working alongside Johnson McKay in the early stages of artwork design, he was able to ensure the design elements translated into an emotive experience for all.

Shane Taipari (Tanui, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui) combined his skills in sound design and his familiarity of traditional Māori instruments to create a contemporary reimagining of traditional Taonga Pūoro using modern synthesisers and computers to blend them with cinematic audio effects.

Spark’s Māori business strategy team of Riki Hollings (Ngāti Ranginui) and Anaru Tuhi (Ngāpuhi Waikato-Tainui) brought the expectations of Spark to the table. This project is guided by Spark’s Māori strategy, Te Korowai Tupu - the cloak of growth. It brings te ao Māori and te ao Pakeha together in shared space. That mindset and guidance meant we could act in a safe learning space and uphold the integrity of the strategy.

Their guidance in collaboration was especially important when sharing assets and designs created by one party, to others, who brought them to life using their own expertises in 3D modeling, web development and implementation.