28 February 2020
By email: [FYI request #11770 email]
Dear Benjamin Official information request for information related to the previous and
current University logo
I refer to your requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act)
dated 1 December 2019.
Each of your requests, and the University’s response, is set out below.
1. “The process of creating and adopting the previous and/or current logo;”
Information on the creation and adoption of the University’s previous logo can be found
on the University’s website. In particular, please refer to page 12 of the Minutes and Paper
for the 6 May 2019 meeting of the University Council (available at https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/our-identity)
The current logo was designed by Insight Creative’s Wellington Office as part of the
University’s brand refresh. The design was approved by the University Council on 29 July
2019, and formally adopted by the University on 27 November 2019.
2. “The process of consulting Maori [sic] when creating and adopting the previous
and/or current logo;”
The University did not consult with Māori when creating and adopting the previous and
current logo as the University is not obliged to consult with Māori when making changes
to the logo.
In relation to the current logo, the niho taniwha was taken from the tukutuku panels and
kōwhaiwhai decorating the wharenui of the University’s marae on campus. The adoption
of niho taniwha as well as Te Herenga Waka as a name for the whole University is a
deliberate expression of rangatiratanga by the University’s Māori community. That is, the
process of including niho taniwha and adopting Te Herenga Waka was led by members of
that community. It was not a case of “the University” (as a body corporate) making a
decision and then ‘consulting’ with Māori. The University’s most senior Māori staff
member, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori), Professor Rawinia Higgins led this process.
3. “Whether the previous and/or current logo, or aspects of them, were gifted by
Maori [sic] to the university.”
Neither the previous or current University logo or aspects of them were “gifted” by Māori
to the University. The manaia was created by Sir Hirini Moko Haerewa Mead, the
University’s first Professor of Māori, during his tenure at Victoria University of
Wellington as the most senior Māori at the time.
If you wish to discuss this decision with us, please feel free to contact me at [VUW request email].
Georgia Tawharu Adviser, Information Access and Copyright