National | Whānau Ora

Māori non-profit organisation makes history at advertising awards

The Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency became the first Māori and non-profit organisation to win Client of the Year and Idea of the Year at the Axia Awards.

Held last night in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, the 44th Axia Awards saw 11 other wins by Whānau Ora through its advertising agency Motion Sickness, including four golds, five silvers and one bronze.

Whānau Ora chief operating officer Awerangi Tamihere was honoured after making history last night.

“To be the first Māori and non-profit organisation to win is incredible and a powerful reminder of the impact that effective communication serves as a tool in driving positive change.

“To be recognised that many times for our community campaign we did with whānau we serve every day is an honour in itself.”

She had arrived halfway through the ceremony, just to hear Whānau Ora’s name being called out.

“We came straight from the airport and, as we walked in, we were redirected to the stage to accept an award.”

Whānau Ora chair Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, was proud of the work her team have done over the past 10 years.

“What a time to be recognised in this way for our commitment to empower whānau and communities to thrive.

“Whānau across Te Ika-a-Māui have contributed to our success over the past decade and they will continue to be our focus through these challenging times.

“We’re not going anywhere and\, if anything, these prestigious acknowledgements solidify that our future Is Māori,” she said.

Motion Sickness creative director Sam Stuchbury told Te Ao Māori News he couldn’t be more happy about the historic win for Whānau Ora, after the challenges they faced creating the ‘Rep Your Suburb’ campaign.

“We had limited time, limited funds and a mountain of incomplete census forms. But it’s often in those unusual circumstances where the magic can happen.

“Thank you to the amazing Whānau Ora team for trusting us. You have been incredible collaborators and it’s been an honour to work with you on this important mahi.”

Rep Your Suburb campaign

Whānau Ora’s ‘Rep Your Suburb’ campaign encouraged Māori and Pasifika community members to participate in the 2023 Census, and took home the 2024 Grand Prix, Best Idea, four golds, one silver and one bronze.

It targeted overlooked communities with the greatest need for resources, such as streetlights or health care, which the census could help allocate.

“Place has always played an important role in Māori culture. While this has become diluted in urban settings, we reasoned a connection to your suburb had come to replace what would once have been a connection to your iwi,” the campaign website said.

The campaign drew on people’s pride for their suburb, by doing pop-up merch stores featuring custom-made items with local postcodes emblazoned.

While they items were free, only those who had completed the census were eligible.

Our Future is Māori campaign

Whānau Ora also won for its ‘Our Future Is Māori’ campaign, which was to signal a transformative shift in the wellbeing of Māori people.

“A system designed by Māori to empower our communities, ensuring better outcomes for whānau and enabling us to take control of our own destiny. This marks the beginning of our future,” Whānau Ora said on its website.

It won four silvers last night.