For third-year communication design student Jordan Tane (Ngāpuhi), the opportunity to be involved in the celebration of Matariki at AUT in its first year as a public holiday was a huge honour.
“The fact that we now have a public holiday recognising Matariki is so exciting,” says Jordan. “To be able to share the meaning behind the nine stars of Matariki with students in this project with the Office of Māori Advancement is such an honour. I’m so glad to be able to use my communication design skills to share Matariki with students and staff at AUT.”
Jordan has designed nine posters – one for each Matariki star – which will be displayed around AUT campuses. “Each star of Matariki symbolises something different. People will be able to scan a link from the posters to website information to give more information about each star.”
In addition to completing her studies in communication design in the School of Art and Design, Jordan is a tuakana peer mentor for Māori design students, an Oceanian Navigator – Office of Pacific Advancement and works on design projects for the Office of Māori Advancement.
Growing up, Jordan never thought she’d go to university. “I have autism, and was non-verbal until I was five years old. I could draw before I could talk,” says Jordan. “All through school I was constantly told I’d never amount to anything and would never be able to study beyond high school, until one teacher saw potential I didn’t recognise. I attended AUT UniPrep and began studying at AUT.
“AUT has been such a great place to study for me. Beginning my communication design studies, I couldn’t imagine my work being used in advertising, but as I began to connect more to tikanga Māori and my whakapapa, I could see real purpose in my work.
“I had been really disconnected from my Māori whakapapa since high school which has greatly improved since studying at AUT, I just recently had a pivotal moment with one of my lecturers, [Senior Lecturer] Natalie Robertson, said to me ‘you may not know your ancestors, but your ancestors know who you are’. I was so moved.”
Jordan has really valued the opportunities to be involved in the wider AUT community too – from the social aspects to the peer mentoring work she does.
She says she hopes her work this year on Matariki helps build people’s interest in the new holiday, and helps all people - Māori and tauiwi – celebrate Matariki. “I feel like we have a chance to help bring tikanga Māori into our urban areas and environment, and really normalise that, and I’m so happy to have been a part of the celebration of Matariki at AUT in 2022.”