Ukaipo - O Tatou Whakapapa is an exhibition at the MTG that celebrates traditional Maori culture and history in New Zealand, specifically in the Hawke’s Bay area: “Ukaipo is our identity, our home ground, our upbringing, our mothers. Its literal meaning is ”being fed at the breast at night”. We acknowledge our ukaipo when we visit our homeland, in recalling childhood memories and when we are reminded of past generations”.
The design brief for this project was to create an interactive world based on cultural assets for users to explore – throughout this world discovering new pieces of information that give a wider description of their corresponding elements in the Ukaipo exhibition space.
We took Ukaipo’s literal translation and constructed a visual narrative that represented the mysterious and slightly eerie nature of being fed at the breast of night. The initial screen you begin your journey through Ukaipo shows a faceted net, bobbing in a stream under the nights sky.
Much of the cultural history on display in the Ukaipo exhibition surrounds the Ruakituri river, so our design was informed by this idea of ‘catching’ or ‘gathering’ the cultural information in a fishing net. Using the net as a navigation system or map, the user swims from pocket to pocket of information caught in its grasp.
Ukaipo was a finalist entry in The Best Design Awards 2014 by the Designers Institute of New Zealand.