As always, we looked to our Culture Centred Design approach to make sure we maintained the cultural integrity of our designs and the delivery process.
The first pātai we asked when focussed on – What value does the project have for Māori? What are Māori getting as part of this exchange, and what do Māori gain from our inclusion?
Our second pātai are – if the project does have value for Māori, how can Māori culture best be represented? How can we share our stories while protecting our mātauranga and integrity?
First, let’s look at value. We considered that as the America’s Cup is broadcast to the world from Aotearoa New Zealand, our Māori culture should be at the forefront of that. Despite the exclusive nature of the sport - participation is basically limited to rich white people - we felt that the bigger kaupapa was that Māori are seen as the face of Aotearoa New Zealand, and therefore recognised as the first people of our country.
TVNZ’s approach to the kaupapa was heartening, and the conversations we had with the broadcaster made us feel they were coming at this with integrity and from the right place. The project was Maori-led, with one of our first contacts the head of sport, Melodie Robinson. We also found Māori culture, people and processes were being considered throughout the wider event - from the Māori naming of our boat ‘Te Rehutai’, to the inclusion of mana whenua, the use of Māori television presenters and Māori language.