In 2020, New Zealand’s Ministry of Education initiated a plan to combine 27 educational institutions into a single entity, Te Pūkenga. Named by Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, Te Pūkenga describes gaining and mastering valuable skills by passing down knowledge from person to person.
Due to its scale and reach, the project required a deep narrative and a highly accessible design system that could support institutions over the multi-year transition. The identity is inspired by the strong muka fibres of the Harakeke flax plant, often utilised by māori weavers for their strength in the creation of kete baskets. The analogy of weaving informs many parts of the brand, speaking to the binding of people and knowledge. Kete appear in māori mythology as baskets of knowledge, received by the god Tāne as a gift for humankind.
The brand tohu (logo) is an interpretation of one of these baskets of knowledge, a vessel to be filled with all the unique qualities, skills, and minds of Te Pūkenga.