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Project Manu


Project Manu

Honours Project - Massey University

Māori design, illustration, packaging design, story writing

The following video accompanied the pack itself while on exhibition at Massy College of Creative Arts.

Please read on below for an extended explanation of research and description, or click here to read my exegesis. 

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria

My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul

Project Manu addresses the need for teacher and parent Māori resources in the early childhood sector of New Zealand education.

In my final year at Massey I developed this pack aimed to aid in the resurgence of te reo Māori here in New Zealand. It encompasses a range of learning styles, teaching philosophies and elements intended for the 2-4 year old age group as well as their caregivers. 

The story itself is bilingual; english with te reo weaved throughout, as well as the addition of phonetics to assist in correct pronunciation of the Māori words by parents, teachers and guardians. 

There are extended uses of all elements to support the various learning styles and teaching philosophies as well as an informative guide for the teacher or parent to extend their understanding.

The design is simple and bold to help teach about colours and common New Zealand garden insects. 

This is my passion project and something that I continue to develop with the aim to produce a revised version that will be readily available country-wide. 

Project Manu explores how communication design can be used to create tactile experiences that introduce New Zealand children to the history and importance of Te reo Māori. 

The main objective was to develop a pack of resources that draw from current teaching philosophies and early childhood curricular. The elements within the pack address the learning needs of a child as well as the person teaching them. The main message 'the importance of te reo Māori' is the umbrella theme with age appropriate content and a friendly, approachable tone. The intention is to introduce the Māori language to young New Zealanders by correctly informing and guiding those able to teach them. 

The message here is to provide children with early interest and development of New Zealand's native language, morals and values. Te reo Māori needs to be taught and learnt more widely in Aotearoa to ensure it remains a large part of the lives of our future generations and our country.

The target audience is firstly aimed at New Zealand children aged 2 to 4 years old that have come from any ethnic background.  Secondly the aim is to target the parents, teachers and caregivers of these children, who are also from any ethnic background. 

The hands-on nature of the pack, and items within it, are based on traditional mediums that hold elements of the unfamiliar, sparking intrigue, discovery and play. They are elements that hold a sense of familiarity that means everybody feels comfortable interacting with them. 

While all of these elements are based on teaching philosophies common to those taught in New Zealand, they support strands and goals seen in Te Whāriki (New Zealand's bilingual early childhood curriculum) as well as ensuring a rich learning experience, addressing a broad range of needs. Each of these elements are capable of an extended use beyond that of what would be seen as their original purpose. They are able to adapt to the environment such as the wall or floor space in the home, classroom or wharenui. 

In the pack the guide opens to be a poster, the book extends out to be a wall banner, and the stones provide chalk board canvases for additional characters or words that can be written on them temporarily. 

These alternative, extended uses provide options to suit an environment, or adapt to the many learning styles and teaching philosophies whilst still maintaining core values from Māori culture and Te Whāriki.