Navigate Up
Sign In

Stories of place inspire design

This page contains information about a new logo that has been adopted by Whangarei District Council.
Updated: 8/11/2018 2:11 p.m.

From left: Creative Designer
Tristan Tuckey. Mayor Sheryl Mai and
Richard Shepherd with the new logo.

​A new logo inspired by our unique place and its people has been adopted by Whangarei District Council.

The logo is part a wider vision aimed at improving the way we communicate with our community and is part of a new communication strategy.

Council’s General Manager Corporate / CFO, Alan Adcock says the most obvious change people will initially notice is the new logo that will be rolled out over the coming months; but it is just one part of several changes going on behind the scenes.

“Council’s communication with the community is far more than the information that is sent out as news or advertising in the paper, radio, online and in social media.

“That makes up only about a quarter of the overall communication function. The majority is about the actual experience people have with us; whether it is over the phone, making a payment online, meeting with someone out on a building site, turning on a tap, driving along a road or putting out the rubbish. These all communicate something about how we relate to the people we serve and the District we look after.

“It’s about people’s everyday experience. People often think of a brand as a logo or something we tell people about us, but really, it’s about how people experience our services and what they expect when they deal with us.

“We want to improve that across the board. We want people to feel the strong sense of connection we have with our District and its people and the things we do to look after and develop it.

Mr Adcock says Council’s new communications strategy sets out some plans to achieve this.

“One of those steps has been to introduce to our logo, elements that draw on the past one, but develops it in a way that feels more relatable to people who live in our landscape and also says more about our place. 

“The imagery relates to the past – retaining elements of the earlier “W”, but also tells the story of how this place came by its name – Terenga Paraōa and Whangārei.

We have also introduced colours that are more representative of our District by developing a new colour palette.

“Local company Big Fish, who helped to develop the new design, were also major players behind the successful “Whangarei: Love it Here” campaign (commissioned by Council), and Fritter Festival (run by Council). They carried out community consultation and worked closely with kaumatua to ensure the integrity of the design and the process.”


The waiting place of Reipae

A strong inspiration for the new Council logo was the story of Reitu and Reipae, twin sisters, who arrived north from the Waikato on a falcon. These young, high-born women came from a powerful tribe. One day they and their people received visitors from the far north. Among them was the handsome young chieftain Ueoneone. He and his people hoped for a marriage with the twin sisters thereby strengthening tribal alliances.

After days of discussion the elders of both parties agreed a marriage would take place. Reitu and Reipae argued with each other against sharing Ueoneone as their husband. The day came for the visitors to return home. Ueoneone promised to send his special messenger to collect the girls and bring them north for their impending marriage.

Soon a bird, a kārearea (falcon) arrived. The bird announced it had come for the sisters. Inviting them to climb upon its back, the bird flew northward. The sisters were still arguing when Reipae overheard Reitu make scathing remarks about her.  This caused Reipae to give up her quest for the handsome Ueoneone. Feigning illness, Reipae directed the bird to land at the beach beneath them.

When it did she alighted, telling her companions to continue without her.Here she waited for their people travelling across the land with their brothers Te Kanapuiterangi and Kairangatira. This event is remembered in the name Whangārei; Ko Te Tauwhanga a Reipae mō ōnā Tūngane mō Te Kanapuiterangi raua ko Kairangatira The Waiting Place of Reipae for her brothers Te Kanapuiterangi and Kairangatira. Reipae eventually married a local chieftain Tāhūhūpōtiki.

All the hapu (tribes) of Whangārei Te Terenga Parāoa can claim descent from this union. Tradition records several waka landing in this area at varying times, among them Tūnuiārangi, Ruakaramea, Moekākara, Te Wakatūwhenua, Mahūhūkiterangi and Mataatua. Other famous waka such as Te Arawa, Tākitimu and Kurahaupō are also known to have visited here.

Te Terenga Parāoa

The gathering place of the whales

While some people see birds when they look at the new Council logo, other people see rolling hills and the ocean or a pair of whales swimming to the left. Te Terenga Parāoa or  'the gathering place of the whales' is another name by which Whangārei is known. It means Parāoa is the Māori name for the sperm whale. This great creature is held in high regard by Māori who refer to it as the largest ‘fish’ of the ocean. Symbolically the parāoa represents persons of chiefly status. As carved sculpture or painted motif it symbolises wealth, rich food and abundance. Its stranding heralds sacred events. As a place name Te Terenga Parāoa indicates an area rich in resources, land, food and people.

To the old-time Māori the parāoa was an important gift from the gods. In large quantity it meant meat for food, oil to light lamps, massage limbs, mix coloured clay into paint, the hard bone fashioned into domestic utensils, weapons for war and items of chiefly adornment. In days past the parāoa frequented the waters outside Whangārei harbour in numbers, sometimes coming inside the harbour to strand on the out-going tide.

Tribes living around the shore benefited from this gift. At other times tohunga (priests) climbed pathways to rocky altars hidden on the mountain tops and performed powerful rituals attracting the parāoa, encouraging them to enter the harbour. In the early 1820s, Hongi Hika, the Ngāpuhi warlord returned from England and Australia bringing guns and ammunition for revenge against Ngāpuhi enemies.

He called other chieftains of Ngāpuhi to mobilise their armies and meet at Whangārei harbour before taking to the wartrail. Seeing all the chiefs gathered here caused them to be referred to as the legendary parāoa, those ‘great fish of the ocean gathering in the harbour’.



Whangarei District Council owns this website and the information, images and photographs in it are subject to copyright. No portion may be copied or republished without prior permission of Whangarei District Council. We have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and reliable information. The use of any information is at the website visitor’s own risk and discretion.