Our award-nominated digital pouhere
August 31, 2023 | Stories

By Adrienne Hannan

We are delighted our new website has been chosen as a finalist in two categories in the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Awards. 

NATIONAL: This website that you are now experiencing, was created in partnership with developers Tribal Aotearoa and launched in March 2023. Our team behind the website’s creation are chuffed by the accolade which recognises the depth of thought and careful design that went into the project. 

The Best Awards recognise exceptional achievements in graphic, spatial, product, digital, and motion design. Our website has been nominated in the ‘Toitanga’ and ‘Large Scale’ Website categories, and becoming a finalist is testament to the collaborative efforts of our internal experts and the creative team at Tribal Aotearoa.  

The resulting website is a groundbreaking new design that is unique to our organisation and infused with our values. It offers a fresh way to explore, learn and engage with Aotearoa New Zealand’s place-based heritage. 

Our Kaihautū Dean Whiting, a distinguished artist, brought his expertise and depth of knowledge to the project and provided creative guidance throughout the design process to create the visually rich and fit-for-purpose site. 

“The ‘Pouhere Taonga’ part of our organisation name was chosen as something that is unique to us and means ‘the pou that binds taonga together’, and this quickly became a focus for the design,” says Whiting.

“We know that for many ‘heritage’ is often associated with a building, where pou/pillars are an essential structural element to create built form, and in heritage landscapes pouwhenua and memorials are the focus to remember and retell our stories.  

“We view this new website as our digital pouhere – a place where stories and histories are kept safe and shared with communities, but also a meeting place where people come together to share, celebrate, discuss, and decide,” says Whiting. 

Accented with contemporary pops of colour, this site represents a new appearance for us. The rich palate has been drawn from the unique natural environment of Aotearoa, with an acknowledgement of the wide range of colours Māori use in their decorative arts.  

It’s understatement that we are proud to be selected among the range worthy finalists.  

"As we celebrate this significant achievement, we also acknowledge the growing influence of Te Ao Māori - culture, stories, and arts - in design. We are honoured to contribute to this cultural movement, drawing inspiration and shaping a bicultural direction that echoes our whakatauākī: 'Tairangahia a tua whakarere; Tātakihia ngā reanga o āmuri ake nei. Honouring the past; Inspiring our future’," expresses Whiting. 

The Best Awards is an annual event that recognises excellence across various design disciplines. Established in the mid-seventies, the awards serve as a platform to showcase and honour outstanding design achievements in Aotearoa New Zealand while fostering growth within the design community through evaluation by an international panel of experts. 

The winners of the Awards will be unveiled on October 6th. 

The entry for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga can be found here.

Curious about the design of our website? Find out about our digital journey here.

Whiting, Dean

Adrienne Hannan | Kaiwhakahaere Whakapā, Whakatairanga hoki – Manager Communications and Marketing
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