Ron De Rooy – Ngātiwai Logo Designer

Kia Tūpato!
Ka tangi a Tūkaiaia kei te moana, Ko Ngātiwai kei te moana e haere ana;
Ka tangi a Tūkaiaia kei te whenua, Ko Ngātiwai kei tuawhenua e haere ana!
When the Tūkaiaia calls at sea, Ngātiwai are at sea;
When the Tūkaiaia calls inland, Ngātiwai are inland!

The Ngātiwai Trust Board’s logo has been around for about 35 years, and is an iconic symbol of Ngātiwai as an iwi. Many of our uri may not know who designed it.

The design itself depicts the prime Ngātiwai kaitiaki – “Tūkaiaia”. It has an interesting kōrero behind it.
Some say that Tūkaiaia was a now extinct sea hawk, and some say it is a mollymawk, a small compact albatross that flies out at sea in the Ngātiwai rohe moana.

In the Te Ao Hou 1961, our chief talks about the guardian manu in the first two verses of recital of our mōteatea – “Tākina ake rā te taitara ki Motukōkakō. Whakatahia rā te tikitiki o Tū-te-Mahurangi, he manu kawe i ngā ki o Pouerua” “Let the peaks of the waves crash on Motukōkako”. The kōrero then referred to our eponymous tupuna Manaia and his ability to move islands in Motu Kōkakō by feathering them with the tikitiki of Tū-te-Mahurangi, a bird that carries tidings to the pā of Pouerua, near Ohaeawai. Tū being the name of the bird, and kārearea, or kāeaea being a hawk. Hence Tū-kaeaea, or Tūkaiaia.

Traditional kōrero also talks about how this manu accompanied Ngātiwai war parties on the move at land and at sea. It would shriek or tangi to warn Ngātiwai were arriving.

In the 1980’s organisational logos were a new thing. The Board at the time, approached Whangārei based artist Ron de Rooy to design a suitable logo using our Tūkaiaia. He can’t quite recall the details of the brief but said he hoped his design had captured the “strength of the bird, particularly in its wings”

Ron was born in Indonesia in 1934. His family moved back to Holland when he was five where he developed his skills in art by attending Art School in Holland, specialising in design and has been passionate about commercial art all his life. Ron is also an accomplished bone carver and has designed and commissioned many pieces over the years.

Ron spent some time living and working in Holland before moving to New Zealand in 1961.  Ron had two elder brothers living in New Zealand who said it was a great place to live, so they convinced him to move out here with his family and he attests that it was everything that they described it would be.

His early years in New Zealand saw him working for The Northern Advocate newspaper. 

Ron says, \”Starting at the Northern Advocate as a photographer was great for someone like me having only just moved to New Zealand”.  It gave me the chance to see here, there and everywhere and gave me a chance to get to know a lot of people throughout Northland and New Zealand.  It was the best job for someone new here.”

He then went on to set up his own printing services business, Baigent Print.  Ron found that business cards and logos were not common in Whangārei when he arrived, so he made this a specialisation of his business, and over the years has seen him design many logos for businesses throughout Northland. Ron has also had a long association with The Quarry where he established Te Kowhai Print Trust.

 “I just love Northland and there is nowhere else that I could see myself living.”

​Now retired, Ron lives on a lifestyle block in Matarau with his wife Colleen.

To recognise Ron’s contribution and design of the the Ngātiwai logo, Ngātiwai Trust Board presented Ron with a Tūkaiaia taonga in the form of the logo that Ron designed all those years ago.

Kris MacDonald says, “The logo which Ron designed 35 years ago has been an iconic representation of who we are as a people and as a tribe.”

“There was controversy at one point in the early 2000s, even to the extent that the design was to be abandoned and replaced by another representation. But the Board and Kaumātua of the time decided they wanted to keep it, It is used today on our stationery, work wear, flags, digital media, communications, business cards – everything”

Ngātiwai also have another Tūkaiaia logo designed by Te Wārihi Hetaraka which sits with Te Au Here O Tūkaiaia – Ngātiwai’s Education Unit. This logo also has pride of place amongst Ngātiwai and will be featured in a future newsletter.

Kris says, “The Tūkaiaia is one of the most important kaitiaki of Ngātiwai, we always acknowledge it in our mihi, our mōteatea and in our waiata.  I think all those years ago, Ron captured the symbol of it perfectly.  Thank you Ron for your contribution to our iwi.”

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