MIL-OSI Economics: Kotahitanga through kapa haka in today’s Waitangi Day Doodle

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Source: Google

Image alt text: New Zealanders participating in kapa haka to show kotahitanga, unity, in celebration of Waitangi Day 2024.

Poi, pukana and kapa haka are a shared experience for many people all across New Zealand, whether participating or watching. 

Vincent Egan of Māui Studios has created an image of kotahitanga through kapa haka in today’s Waitangi Day Doodle. “The Doodle artwork delivers a message of kotahitanga – the importance of unity and a celebration of our collective cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand. This piece is a tohu, or symbol, of how awesome we are as a people when we come together and look out for each other.”

Displayed today on the Google New Zealand homepage, the 2024 Waitangi Day Doodle depicts a group of New Zealanders participating in or celebrating elements of the kapa haka festivals, mau rākau weaponry workshops, or annual tribal celebrations that Egan has experienced. 

The design captures a moment in time with whānau and friends: Taking centre stage are a diverse group of tamariki, each representing components of kapa haka – practising with poi and taiaha, and a cheeky Māori boy, Tamaiti haututū, performing a haka dance movement and doing a pukana. The scene is book ended by a proud Māori father who is holding a trophy which one of his tamariki has won in a manu korero speech competition; And an older Pacifica Aunty who is on kai (food) duty with some freshly made rēwana (sweet bread).

In the centre of the image is a girl gazing in interest and wonder at the collective wairua (spiritual essence) of everyone coming together and participating in events. It speaks to the numerous cultures participating and an embracing of each culture’s spirit.  

When explaining why the Waitangi Day is meaningful to him, Vincent shared, “It speaks of the people in Te Ika ā Māui and Te Waipounamu of New Zealand and the important series of historic moments in this country. This is a perfect opportunity to depict the different personalities of our collective home, in a style that resonates deeply with me and the communities we serve at Māui Studios.” Vincent collaborated with his colleagues and fellow designers and illustrators, Madison Henry and Royce Southerland. 

Aotearoa New Zealand today recognises Te Tiriti o Waitangi which was signed on 6 February 1840. Kiwis search interest in Waitangi Treaty Grounds is currently at a four-year high.

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