The concepts of Kotahitanga (togetherness, unity and collective action lifting each other up, identifying as one) and Poutama (the pursuit of knowledge) guided the design of the two tohu - Kaitiakatanga and Ākonga - crafted by Manukorihi Winiata (Ngāti Raukawa, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) for Whitireia and WelTec.
The vision and feel for this concept design was to be light, open, uplifting, free flowing, and to have movement while making a connection to kaitiakitanga. The Kaitiaki in this context is a companion/guardian of learning for ākonga. The different sections of this design demonstrate the vision, values and initiatives of Whitireia and WelTec.
The two koru on the back of the bird represent Mana and Tapu. The key message is to engage with learners in a manu and wairua-enhancing manner.
The head of the manu symbolises staff's ability to navigate and provide guidance as kaitiaki. The open koru starting at the head is Mauri running through the centre as the life force of the kaitiaki.
The wing of the Kaitiaki is a symbol of manaakitanga. The open wings were designed to appear inviting, creating a sense of welcome.
The focus for this section is on care and support. The three koru in the negative space represent pastoral, academic, and cultural support. The harakeke leaves in the positive space represent Te Pae Tawhiti frameworks.
This concept tells a story about how the kōrari (flower of the harakeke) feeds, sustains and supports the ākonga (bird). The kōrari flower is used as it connects to the harakeke frameworks represented in Te Pae Tawhiti. The kōrari can be viewed as the fruits or outcome of the frameworks feeding the ākonga, represented as the bird within the design.
The bird represents our ākonga. The koru around the head highlights the learning of knowledge. The koru curving downward shows the nourishment of the tinana and wairua. The section in front of the head is the kōrari (flower) of the harakeke. It is placed in a way where the top meets the mouth of the bird, representing feeding and nourishment of ākonga through mātauranga (knowledge).
The lower half of the design has a strong focus on support, care, and growth. It shows the elevation of ākonga in a mana-enhancing way to provide a broader and clearer vision of the future. The single koru at the top emphasizes the aspect of support and care as this is the point that upholds the ākonga (bird). It can be seen as pastoral, academic and cultural support.
The two koru curving downward in the negative space represent Whitireia and WelTec. The positive space are flax leaves demonstrating growth. When mirrored, the full Harakeke bush and Mangopare is revealed. This mangopare is the Mauri-life force that further emphasizes the strong support and care expressed by Whitireia and WelTec to ākonga
When used as a pattern, the key elements of the story of the ākonga - nourishment, growth, and a safe space - are upheld. The head of the manu is cropped at the bottom, reflecting the development of ākonga, and as it receives nourishment through mātauranga, moves up the bird with the support and care upholding it.
When ākonga is facing back to back with each other it creates a safe space built up by all the networks, different to facing belly to belly showing the interaction of ākonga - learning and growing together. When ākonga is staggered it reflects the sense of growth from developing together with the support and care shown to uphold the manu. Building on each other strength to aspire to be the full ākonga.
Ngāti Raukawa, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa
My journey as an artist started at the age of 16 when I picked up the kuru and whao (mallet and chisels) to begin my journey in the art of Whakairo with my koroua in the settlement of Waiwhetu. After 7 years being fully immersed in the art of Whakairo within a staunch traditional setting, I made the move to Gisborne on the Tairawhiti to attend and complete a degree at Toihoukura – School of Contemporary Māori Visual Arts.
It was during my time at Toihoukura I explored many different media and materials across multiple Māori art forms (Tā moko, Kowhaiwhai, Uku). After my experience at Toihoukura I attended the Learning Connexion – School of Creativity and Art in Taita, Lower Hutt. My experience at The Learning Connexion highlighted the important role creativity plays within visual arts.
My art practice today still consists of Māori visuals being explored across new media and materials to create new outcomes. The digital design space is a new and exciting journey, it is where I find the majority of my work being created today.