About Unite Against COVID-19: Our brand story

How Unite Against COVID-19's brand has evolved to support Aotearoa's journey and response to COVID-19.

He waka eke noa

Unite Against COVID-19 was set up to help New Zealanders navigate their way through the pandemic.

For the COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights), our brand evolved to support the next stage of Aotearoa's journey based on the concept of "He waka eke noa — we are all in this together."

The pūrorohū (storm)

COVID-19 was a storm that had been raging across the world and eventually made its way to Aotearoa. This pūrorohū threatened our lifestyle, businesses and our very lives. We knew the only way we could survive was to shelter and wait for it to pass. So, we dropped anchor and took shelter, and focused on keeping people safe.

Each time it threatened us we would do this and wait for it to pass. But, over time it has become apparent to us all that our weather has changed and this storm is now part of our new reality.

The story behind the sails

Our strength has always been in our sail. Our raranga is made strong by the threads working together.

Throughout the pandemic we have added new threads to our raranga that have further strengthened our sail, so we can now continue our journey. We can seek out new horizons with the confidence of knowing that if we hit some bad weather again, our navigation skills and the strength of our sail will carry us through to calmer waters.

Working collaboratively with Māori designers and communication experts, our sail motif reflects the journey we are on and is now woven through our designs and advertising.

From this, a distinctive Aotearoa feel flows through our visual elements.

Our colours and sounds

Our colour palette is influenced by the colours of the kererū.

The taonga pūoro you hear woven into the sting at the start of our audio advertisements represent the contemporary sounds of Aotearoa. These are New Zealand's sounds and voices.

Taonga pūoro are considered an important medicine in healing. They are used as rongoā (medicine) for both mental health and physical ailments. Our taonga pūoro is recorded by musician Reti Hedley, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

Acknowledging where we have come from

Through 2020 and 2021, our yellow stripes and Alert Level campaign helped Aotearoa shelter from the stormy weather, while reassuring New Zealanders we could get through together.

Aotearoa is still navigating its journey with COVID-19, but together we can continue to trust in the strength of our sail.

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