We recommend agencies adopt a neutral approach to theming their office environment. Creativity is encouraged and engaging with your agency is recommended, this provides people with the option to be involved in the design solution.
Agencies should avoid theming the office environment on their own specific agency brand theme, as this does not align with a New Zealand Government approach.
Consider adopting one or all of the following themes: cultural, locational, historical, or contemporary.
Māori culture forms a distinctive part of New Zealand culture; it is rich and varied with both traditional and contemporary elements. To promote and encourage te reo Māori, meeting rooms could be named after Māori flora and fauna, or colours with bilingual signage and an associated image as an example.
Areas for exhibiting artworks should be planned as part of the design process, with te reo Māori and English signage.
Be sure to consult with local Iwi and hapū before incorporating any cultural designs.
An agency could base their office theme on neutral New Zealand locations, including those related to the office location. For example, famous landmarks, whether they are natural or artificial, can be showcased throughout the office. An office located in Auckland could have the CBD skyline frosting on glass walls or printed on lockers, and the names of meeting rooms could be Auckland street names. Other locational themes could include:
Using Māori tūpuna names, and names of significance to Māori, such as the tribal waka and names of iwi and hapū for rooms should always be cleared with the local iwi and hapū.
The look and feel of the office could be themed on neutral New Zealand historical significance connected to the building or location. For example, the Bolton Hotel, on Bolton Street in Wellington is named and also themed around a ship named the Bolton that arrived at Wellington Harbour in 1840. Another example is meeting rooms named after famous New Zealanders who have made major historical achievements. If you use people’s names, it is essential that you seek any relevant permissions from them or their whānau/iwi/hapū.
Images showing meeting rooms themed after inspirational New Zealanders.
The person in this photo is Elizabeth Grace Neill, the first woman to gain a position of seniority within the New Zealand Public Service.
Alternatively, agencies can apply a very neutral theme with a contemporary office environment by applying no theme at all and using contemporary colours, materials and basic patterns. This can be the favoured approach when various, interchangeable agencies are using the same space such as kitchen areas, or collaboration and co-working spaces.
Planning the theme at the beginning of the overall building refurbishment or new build process, means the final brand solution will set the scene for the entire look and feel of the office. For multi-level buildings, one example could be considering meeting rooms on one floor named after flora, and another floor named after fauna. When using Māori themes, ensure you engage with local Iwi and your agency cultural or Māori advisor as appropriate.