Te Papa marketing campaign developed by Taita College Students

Taita College students Ema Pasikala, Vika Tupou, Jaspreet Singh, Hunter Robinson, and Junior Misa with their posters, 2021. Photo by Daniel Crichton-Rouse. Te Papa

Eight students from Taita College have created an advertising campaign promoting Te Papa’s Collections Online.

The project is in collaboration with Wellington-based advertising agency VMLY&R. The agency spearheaded their Te Ara Mahi creative work experience programme after identifying a lack of diversity in Aotearoa’s design and advertising industries.

“Te Papa saw the opportunity to genuinely connect with Māori and Pasifika audiences with the voices of local rangatahi using Collections Online. The process also opened and supported career pathways into an influential creative industry, bringing diversity,” says Te Papa Marketing Manager Bridgette Yates.

Working with Te Papa’s digital, mātauranga Māori, iwi, and Pacific cultural teams, the students used Collections Online to access cultural taonga and collection images to tell their story as a basis for their campaign.

They then worked with VMLY&R’s strategy and creative teams to create street posters promoting Collections Online, which holds almost 800,000 artworks, objects, and taonga from Te Papa’s collections.

The posters will appear in the Lower Hutt region over October and November.

Taita College’s Vika Tupou’s “Turtle” is a homage to natural taonga and her culture, she says.

“The turtle is symbolic in Polynesia and it was culturally relatable to me.

“[The work experience was] so different from what I imagined it would be. I thought it would be boring but it was a creative and fun experience that we all liked doing. I would totally do it again and I hope others get to do it too,” Vika says.

Hunter Robinson – who also took part in the programme – used graffiti-style typography in the collaborative work “Eye” because he wanted it to resonate with younger people, he says.

“People who are the same age as me like this stuff. I graffiti in my spare time and it’s what I’m drawn to. Friends and family would do it; they’d take me and I’d watch them. I thought, I wanted to do that,” he says.

VMLY&R Head of Client Service Belinda James says Te Ara Mahi aims to fulfil the agency’s promise to create work that makes a meaningful difference for all.

“The intention behind the programme was to give rangatahi hands-on mentoring and agency experience so they can see a future in the industry and realise their creative potential. It’s also invaluable for us because we learn so much from them,” he says.

The work experience initiative has impacted the student’s lives, Taita College Principal Karen Morgan says.

“I’m so proud of our students. I often talk about magic moments and without a doubt, we’ve seen magic with what they’ve produced. It’s pretty cool to see them in their element and [it’s evidence that] we’re living and breathing whanaungatanga,” she says. “We’re a family here [at Taita College] and we hope to provide our students with the community connections and the tools to see them flourish.”

On top of the experience, recognition, and an avenue for career development, koha was made to the school to acknowledge the students’ work. VMLY&R and Te Papa intend to continue the work experience programme in the future.

View the Te Ara Mahi ideas, created by the students: Latoya Edwards-Roper, Chaquita King-Fuimaono, Junior Misa, Ema Pasikala, Hunter Robinson, Jaspreet Singh, Monique Taylor, and Vika Tupou in our blog post, ‘The eye and the turtle: students create posters with a personal connection for Te Papa’.


Media contact

Sasha Borissenko, Communications Advisor