Te Aho O Te Kahu

3 Aug 2022

Every New Zealander has been affected by cancer in some way. As a nation we demanded better cancer prevention and care. The Cancer Control Agency was formed in late 2019 and we were asked to assist in the naming, brand strategy and identity for what is one of our most important health agencies.

Te Aho o Te Kahu

The process towards a Māori name began with genuine engagement with the Māori community to understand their hopes and expectations. Through a series of wānanga with leading experts in te ao Māori, the Cancer Control Agency was gifted the name Te Aho o Te Kahu by representatives of the Māori community at the Beehive on 18th of June 2020.

The name refers to the process of weaving a cloak, a kahu. The aho is the central thread that binds all strands of the kahu together. It represents the leadership role Te Aho o Te Kahu has in improving cancer prevention and care in New Zealand. The first Aho woven also provides the framework for subsequent Aho to be woven. This reminds Te Aho o Te Kahu that they are still in the process of delivering better health comes and the work is yet before us.

Brand Identity

The four threads that weave together to form the Aho represent the values of being equity led (mana taurine), people and whānau centred (mana tāngata), knowledge driven (Mana māramatanga) and outcomes focussed (kia angitū). These values form the protective framework that will guide Te Aho o Te Kahu to be authentic to their purpose.

The colour palette represents the journey of the muka that is extracted from the harakeke plant and used to weave cloaks. The fresh greens represent the Rito of the harakeke, or the centre shoot and how it grows into mature, darker green leaves, that form a protective shelter around the centre shoot. This is also a metaphor for a whānau that protect the child at the centre. The muka is extracted out of the leaves and has a cream colour.


Client: Dr Diana Sarfati
Creative Director - Johnson McKay
Design Director - Tim Hansen
Designers - Jason Fantonial, Storm Smith, Siobhon Joe
Motion - Malachi McKay
Account Manager - Adeline Chua, Tanya Smith