Sir Howard Morrison Centre

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New visual identity for Sir Howard Morrison Centre revealed

Te Arawa has a deep connection to the performing arts, which inspires the new brand for the redeveloped Sir Howard Morrison Centre in Rotorua.

In the 20th century Te Arawa became world travellers with invitations to perform kapa haka at events globally. It was from this foundation that Te Arawa later entered the era of showbands. The Howard Morrison Quartet was an icon of that era and Rotorua was looked upon as a bastion of Māori entertainment during the 1940s-1990s.

Te Arawa artists continue to be actively engaged across all spectrums of performing arts nationally and internationally. The Sir Howard Morrison Centre and the new brand identity is the embodiment of that legacy.

Sir Howard Morrison logo. Design by Rotorua Lakes Council’s Design and Production team.

Pukenga Matauranga Maori, King Biddle says the tohu is comprised of three elements to create one unified logo. The first shape depicts the Tūī, an eloquent speaker, a melodious singer and a powerful actor.
The second shape represents He manu nuku he manu ora – A bird that moves is a bird that feels alive. Depicting all forms of performing arts movement likened to the shimmering air on a hot day.
The third shape represents looking to the past to guide the future.

“The design is an awesome expression of tatau tatau, as well as knowing that all of the community can find belonging in the tohu,” he said.

Sir Howard Morrison, Sir Owen Glenn Theatre and Te Haumako – The Black Box Theatre logos. Design by Rotorua Lakes Council’s Design and Production team.

It was important that the Sir Owen Glenn Theatre and Te Haumako – The Black Box Theatre have a distinct identity whilst being clearly identifiable as a part of the overall Sir Howard Morrison Centre brand family.

The Sir Owen Glenn Tohu is rich in tones of purple and red to reflect the traditional theatrical colours within the interior of the Sir Owen Glenn Theatre, whilst maintaining a visual connection to the brilliant plumage of the Tūī.

Te Haumako – The Black Box Theatre is a space where flexibility is key to function.  It made sense to respond to this by wrapping the Tohu within a box-like form. It is a designated performance space that is not defined by a brand colour or any other prescriptive treatment.

Manager – Culture, Heritage and Mahi Toi, Stewart Brown, said the cultural interpretation of the identity is rich. The design has been created for all to enjoy and interpret via the individual and collective experiences that performers and audiences alike will have at the Sir Howard Morrison Centre. 

“We wanted a clean, dynamic design that reflects the history of the venue, as well as the performing arts in local, national and international contexts. It was also important to us that the design fit within the overall Rotorua brand framework, reflecting the collaborative nature of the venue,” he said.

The application of the Sir Howard Morrison Centre identity will bring to life the historical and yet to be written stories of this centre as one of New Zealand’s best and most versatile performing arts spaces.

The Sir Howard Morrison Centre building will be completed by the end of 2022, and a grand opening event is scheduled for February 2023.   

Published 06 Jul 2022