Artists find Māori colour palette in whenua

By Stefan Dimitrof

Wāhine Māori who joined together to learn and share mātauranga about customary Māori paint making technologies have turned their expertise to helping iwi turn the colours of their whenua into a workable logo.

The Kauae Raro research collective worked with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to incorporate unique colours to carry the mana, the tapu and whakapapa of tangata whenua.

Sarah Hudson from Te Kauae Raro research collective says they spend a lot of time on the whenua for research and reconnecting to the land.

“We have discovered an earthy rainbow.”

Hudson said that they now have a Māori colour palette to work with through this reconnection to the whenua.

“There can be iwi-specific colour palates, there can even be hapu-specific colour palettes."

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa has the first iwi-led predator-free programme and Hudson and her team are helping to finish the work on its logo.

Husdon said they visited the places where the programme is working to draw inspiration from the whenua by grabbing colours that represent their mahi.

With a background studying art at university, she said she had always wanted to come back to her iwi and contribute in an artistic way, 'in a way that people can connect creatively to the whenua”.