Engagement with Māori design
Living and working within Aotearoa New Zealand, it is important as designers that we acknowledge and embrace our bicultural environment and actively participate as partners in Te Tiriti ō Waitangi \ The Treaty of Waitangi. For Revell Design this has been a journey of awakening to the wrongs done to Māori by past designers of non-Māori descent in appropriating Māori design, and acknowledging that we have a responsibility to behave in a manner that is tika, or correct, from a Te Ao Māori perspective.
The ideal situation when asked to work on Māori design is to approach a Māori designer from the region with the work and request they work with the client, with input from Revelldesign if required.
In the absence of a suitable Māori agency, the next best option has been to collaborate with local Māori artists, with Revelldesign acting as a design guide and in a technical role to bring the art to a polished form that is usable in the digital or published spaces required.
Having completed 4 years of te reo Māori, being part of a Māori whānau, and collaborating with artist Shep Hēpara, nō ngā waka o Kurahaupō, Tainui, Māmaru, he Pākehā hoki, has given Kirsten a working understanding of Te Ao Māori and the deep meaning within Māori design. It is understood that this knowledge is gifted and the journey is far from finished. If required, and the other options are unavailable, Kirsten will work under guidance by Māori for the benefit of Māori organisations.
Project Mahitahi is a collaborative programme of works aimed at restoring the ecological health of the Maitahi Valley forest ecosystems. To capture the spirit of this work, Maya Speers (Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Kuia) designed a beautiful logo which she describes as representing “working together in a partnership to achieve a common goal”.
In collaborating with Maya, Kirsten was in the role of technician and also helped guide the process so the relatively complex artwork was useable in the many spaces it was required. The design, which was selected by the Ngāti Koata Kaumātua Council and the Project Mahitahi Governance Group, is an inspiring visual representation of the river and what it means to all people in Whakatū Nelson.