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Protracted Ambivalence: The decolonisation and indigenising of contemporary branding in Aotearoa

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posted on 15.11.2022, 20:51 authored by Stables, Joshua

Most New Zealanders are unaware, ignorant, or dismissive of why and how colonisation continues to happen today, and what the effects on society are (Kiddle, 2020). Decolonising design means recovering Indigenous wisdom from the onslaught of imperialism and outmoded colonial beliefs. Whilst there has been an influx in decolonisation material within the past five years as Aotearoa begins to face it’s colonial past, and the negative impacts of colonialism, it can be hard to actualise this information. This research recognises the similarities within design colonisation and contemporary branding through the experiences of designers from different experience levels within the design industry, from recent graduates to multinational designers. These experiences of design practitioners produce a framework that acts as a foundation to decolonise brand design in the future. This research speaks to cultural appropriation and calls for ways indigenise branding within Aotearoa. Through kaupapa Māori, this research challenges mainstream ways of knowing and being and centralises the needs and interests of Māori for every decision. The findings of this research will help new designers understand the implications of the colonised state of branding and, as a result, will influence how they work for a more inclusive, fair and restorative future.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Degree Discipline

Design Innovation

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

210802 Te whāomoomo i te tuku ihotanga me te ahurea Māori (conserving Māori heritage and culture); 210803 Mōhiotanga Māori (Māori knowledge)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

2 Strategic basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design Innovation


Maxey, Sarah; Horrocks, Dylan