Today’s Doodle commemorates Waitangi Day, Aotearoa New Zealand’s national day, and was illustrated by local guest artist Hori-te Ariki Mataki (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kauwhata, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui me Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi). This marks the anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) in 1840. The treaty is widely considered the country’s founding document.
In 1840, British Crown representatives and hundreds of Māori chiefs gathered on the ground of Waitangi. Today, the Treaty grounds remain a central part of celebrations. An annual gathering features speeches from Māori dignitaries and cultural performances like kapa-haka—a powerful group dance that expresses strength and unity. New Zealanders across the motu (country) attend events to mark the day.
Today’s Doodle artwork features a Māori-inspired design — a tiki form with outstretched arms representing the ancestors of Māori and non-Māori and their aspirations in the Treaty of Waitangi, for the protection of land, community and partnership. The colour is representative of pounamu, or jade, which is considered a taonga (treasure) in Māori culture.
Guest Artist Q&A with Hori-te Ariki Mataki
Today’s Doodle was illustrated by guest artist Hori-te Ariki Mataki. Below, he shares his thoughts behind the making of this Doodle:
In considering a concept for this Doodle I thought about the ambitions of those that signed the Treaty, their want to protect their taonga for future generations and how many generations since our responsibility is greater than ever. How can we work together to continue their legacy.
Q. What were your first thoughts when you were approached about working on this Doodle?
A. Really excited and proud to represent our community, our culture and artwork to the world on the largest platform in human history.
Q. Did you draw inspiration from anything in particular for this Doodle?
A. My heroes in the Toi Māori world are Fayne Robinson, Riki Manuel and Cliff Whiting, I often consider how they might approach their craft, I look at traditional carving forms and try to add a bit of my own personality derived from the digital tools as a modern day toki (adze).
Q. Why was this topic meaningful to you personally?
A. Māori culture and language has been through many ups and downs since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and this just confirms how amazing our culture and language really is.
Q. What message do you hope people take away from your Doodle?
A. As a young boy growing up in Aranui we were told we wouldn’t amount to much, drawing on computers and especially speaking te reo Māori… Our ancestors' ambitions are alive and well in 2023.