Te Pūkenga takes change message to the heart of our communities

September 21, 2022 | 2 min read

mural rewa4

Jonny 4Higher at work in South Mall, Manurewa


Last week, TMD crew’s finest used skills he’s honed through more than twenty years as a graffiti artist to raise awareness about Te Pūkenga and how vocational education is changing to better fit around and reflect the lives of learners and their communities.

Te Pūkenga translates in reo Māori as ‘to be proficient or skilled in particular roles.’ The walls were part of a nationwide campaign raising awareness and connection with the national network while also reaching out to learners who are looking at their study options for 2023. You watch the television commercial for the campaign in Te Reo here and in English here.

“It just gets more attention (than a billboard),” says Jonny about the hours he spent last week creating murals in Ōtara, Māngere and Mānurewa. “It builds curiosity. Because of the nature of this design

being reflective of the cultures of south Auckland, people love it. The themes are aspiration, planning for the future, goal setting, studying and gaining skills.”


Image of a building that has a colourful mural depicting multicultural patterns with Te Pūkenga logo at the top and centre. The image has been taken to the right of the mural and in the distance there is a flower shop with flowers and cardboard boxed outside.

This image has been photographed from the left side of the mural. The mural contains multicultural patterns with Te Pūkenga logo at the top and centre of the mural. There is a metal seat up against the building that the mural is painted on and facing away. Looking to the right, in the background, there is an ANZ atm and a hairdressing shop.

The new murals in Ōtara (Top) and Māngere (Below) Town Centres

The design was created in collaboration with South Auckland-based marketing communications agency Bright Sunday. The company has extensive experience in engaging Pacific and diverse audiences. Redesigning our system of vocational education to better meet the needs of all learners, their whānau and communities is at the heart of Te Pūkenga.

Symbols and what they represent

Fa’afualeva – fruits of the sea mango. This means Tradition and knowledge. The illustration on the left shows 3 black circles and arranged in a triangle with two circles at the bottom and one centred at the top. The illustration on the right shows 3 circles in a diagonal with symbols that have three arrow like lines with a single line underneath vertically. There are two and one is placed upside down on a diagonal and the other is placed diagonally so they face each other.

Fa’afualeva – fruits of the sea mango

 Tradition, knowledge

 This illustration shows four triangles joined by one corner. The top of the triangle faces to the left so the illustration looks as if it is going in a clockwise direction

                                Fa’agogo – Tern

         Safe return

 This image shows 3 illustrations. 2 beside each other and one below. The one to the top left has a line vertically in the centre with two 'wave' like patterns above connected by the point. The right image has two 'wave' like illustrations placed above the other. The 'wave' like illustration is made up of two diagonal lines mirroring each other to connect at the top. This is repeated twice so create a 'wave'. The image below has these same 'wave' like pattern facing each other with a horizontal line connected to them.

Manulua – two birds

 Blessing, prosperity,   protection

 This illustration shows four black circles placed side by side to each other.

Togitogi – measure marks

          Steps, goals