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Wintec students design cookbooks with Aotearoa flavour

The brief to design a cookbook publication has been a fixture in the curriculum for many first year Bachelor of Design students at Wintec School of Media Arts, Te Pūkenga.

But this year, with the intention of making the process more “real life”, tutors saw the opportunity to capture the experience of the school’s Matariki celebration where a hāngī is prepared and shared with staff and students at the campus marae, Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa. 

“It’s real life, so it’s not just hypothetical,” says Wintec design tutor Emily Russell.

“During our Matariki celebration the students are part of the experience, where we share kai and cook a hāngī and then they take that into their designs.”

This collaborative cookbook project is very much a multidisciplinary one. Sarah McCoard, a fellow student who is studying a Bachelor of Contemporary Art with a focus on photography, was enlisted to capture the hāngī process from start to finish, along with photo technician Geoff Ridder. The recipes included were gathered through conversations with colleagues and students around their experiences making hāngī and preparing kai at a marae. 

While the students also applied their usual design skills such as, formatting, character styles and the printing process, a byproduct of the project has seen the students gain a deeper understanding of Te Ao Māori and extend their te reo knowledge. 

Design student Kody Walker says that looking at the translations between English and Te Reo has meant he’s been able to write, read and pronounce the key Māori words he included in his publication.

“By the end of the assessment I could read at a glance, the words in Māori. I couldn't do that before this project,” he says. 

One student Jorja Metcalfe didn’t make the Matariki celebration on campus because she was at her Mother’s Marae - doing the same thing.

Although she wasn’t there she could connect with the brief.

“I used the images of the fry bread and the hāngī being pulled up,” she says.

“The image of the man [Blaine Rakena, Team Manager from Wintec Information Technology] was really cool, he just stood out amongst the smoke.”

The class set of cookbooks are on display in the design studios at Wintec, but it’s just the start, insist the design tutors. They can see how this project can grow, perhaps being exhibited at the campus wharekai where they will be useful for the planning of future hāngī and celebrations and accessible to everyone who gathers there. They can also see how the conversation will continue as new recipes are shared by students and staff with each new year. 

“Sarah’s images captured a real sense of the manaakitanga,” says Russell.

“That’s extended into the student publications and the care and respect they have shown for the content.” 

Blaine Rakena, Team Manager from Wintec Information Technology, on campus at the purpose-build hāngi pit outside the wharekai at Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa. Photo: Geoff Ridder

First year design students at Wintec School of Media Arts, Te Pūkenga with the cookbooks they have designed using images from their shared Matariki feast and recipes from the community. Tutors Emily Russell and Elgee Van Tonder (Left). 

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