Air New Zealand invites visitors back to the country with a strong Māori push for sustainable tourism. Led by the concept of ‘Tiaki’, which means ‘to care for people and place’, the airline’s new safety video places importance on New Zealanders’ special connection to their land.
To lend traction to its shift in positioning and to bring in a strong Māori culture theme, Air New Zealand partnered with the Tiaki organisation responsible for the education and preservation of environment and culture in New Zealand. Together, they worked with Flying Fish to weave in a narrative on environmental sustainability.
Says Flying Fish director Jason Bock, “I loved the script when I first saw it; it reminded me of when I was a little kid hearing about Māori myths. It had a strong visual and poetic vibe to it. I envisaged it as bringing a kid’s storybook to life. The premise of Tiaki is to preserve, foster, protect and shelter. So, we thought of creating a character to embody these ideas, which made it easier for kids to comprehend the ideology behind it.”
Jason adds that Air New Zealand wanted to address the global issue of overtourism, where environments are being destroyed by tourists with no knowledge or respect for those areas. This led to the idea of teaching visitors a way of travelling that imparts cultural understanding – enriching their experience, as well as that of the locals.
LBB> Talk us through your idea for developing the narrative. How does personifying Tiaki bring out the essence of this value?
Jason> Turning the concept of Tiaki into a character makes it a powerful tool to share with children and adults alike. It gives them something tangible to comprehend the themes and core values whilst taking them on a mythical journey through New Zealand. We weaved these values throughout this journey so the viewer takes in cultural cues and environmental themes.
LBB> The cultural aspect of this video is a dominant theme. How did you work with the relevant experts in ensuring its representation is brought out effectively?
Jason> The story is Māori-focused and it originates from traditional Māori myths and legends. Joe Harawira is a legendary storyteller who is at the forefront of this narrative and he also features in the film. He drives the story. Every cultural element in this film was a combined effort of cultural experts – from the carvings of the waka (traditional canoe) to the design of the korowai (cloak) to the music throughout the film. They all involved artists who are masters of their craft.
LBB> How did you choose your shoot locations and what was significant about them?
Jason> The idea behind this journey was that the waka would start at the bottom of the South Island and make its way to the top of New Zealand. Throughout the journey, I wanted to represent a range of locations that encapsulate the whole country, and magically cross over multiple seasons. I was specific in selecting locations that felt special and had something magical about them.
This is an excerpt from an article originally published by Little Black Book.