Can you talk about the colours to start with?
I drew on a traditional palette. People have this idea that Māori colours are just red, white, and black, but pre-colonisation there were other colours. There were different types of berries for yellow tones, and ochre from paru (dirt or clay). There are many options in the choice of yellow – there’s a type of miro that’s an orangey-yellow, almost gold, as opposed to bright kōwhai yellow or pīngao yellow, which can look brownish.
I wanted a tone that wouldn’t be over-powering, but would create an impact. The colours are also similar to how the Tino Rangatiratanga flag is layered in reds, blacks and whites, with that whakaaro (thinking) you know – Te Kore, Te Pō is the darkness, coming into Te Ao Marama, the light, and then the red being the connection back to Papatūānuku, the whenua (land).