Māori artist leads design for NZ Olympic team

By Dean Nathan

Māori visual artist Shane Hansen of Ngāti Mahanga and Ngāti Hine is leading the design of the uniform for the New Zealand team to the Olympics and the gateway he built for their home at the Olympic village in Rio.

He led the design team who created the uniform and sports clothing for the New Zealand team heading to the Rio Olympics.

Hansen says, “Well the initial reaction from the athletes is that they were quite stoked with having something that was a bit more modern than usual.  Something that feels comfortable to wear fit properly and wasn't too show-ponyish you know they wanted something that was a little bit more subtle.”

From concept through to production, the process took well over a year with input from a wide range of people.

“I know that all of us that were involved in it put a lot of effort into it, and took into consideration everyone's point of view which is always a struggle when you do things like that. And, at the end of the day, we've got something that I'm proud to put my name behind.”

Well known as a visual artist, Hansen actually began his career in the fashion industry. 

Apart from leading the design of the uniforms for our Olympic team, the New Zealand Olympic Committee also agreed for him to design the gateway based at the Kiwi residence in the Olympic Village to maintain their connection to home.

“So it’s quite nice to be able to tie the two together so the uniform graphically and emotionally ties into the Waharoa. The Waharoa is fantastic because it's a gateway that when every athlete comes to the village they get greeted by the athletes that are already there and so it’s that entry way into the kiwi village and that feeling of home.”

Today, our New Zealand athletes began competing at Rio.