What's in a Name / 2023

Graphic Design


This is a work-in-progress zine looking at te reo Māori place names as well as Chinese-Māori relationships in Aotearoa New Zealand.

I have been learning about the fascinating legends behind the origins of different te reo Māori place names, many of which have been renamed after European settlers arrived in New Zealand. I wanted to make some designs to honor the original names and tell their stories. This design is of Mount Putauaki (Mount Edgecumbe).

Once upon a time, Mount Putauaki and Mount Tarawera were lovers who were together for a million years. One day, Putauaki cast his eyes out towards the sea, and he became bewitched by the beauty of Whakaari, a steamy, hot volcano. The two soon fell in love, and they would call out to each other at night while Tarawera slept. Eventually, Putauaki could not contain his love anymore and decided to travel to be with Whakaari. However, it is said that a mountain can only move once in their life, and it must be during night time. Putauaki set out on his journey, but half way across the land he realized his son had awoken and was following him. Putauaki tried to convince his son to stay with Tarawera, but the little mountain refused to leave his father’s side. Before he realized, the sun rose, and Putauaki was rooted to the spot he occupies now, halfway across the plains. His son, in turn, cowers on his western flank.