Sport Waikato Brand

Having undergone a recent significant change and with a refreshed approach to our mahi, we recognised it was also time to retire our existing brand and update with something that was more reflective of our new approach. The world is changing… and it was time for us to change with it.

When reflecting on our brand and how it had developed over 35 years, Sport Waikato had to start with our reason for change in 2020. We had undergone a significant transformation from a delivery-based model to a strategic model and we wanted a brand that reflected our new journey – a journey of inclusivity; cultural capability; movement; reflective of the colours of our communities. 

Our vision has not changed – we want ‘Everyone out there and active’, and we are guided by a strategy, Moving Waikato, which ensures that our vision starts to become a reality. Our energies are focused on achieving a big goal of having 75% of our region meeting the World Health Organisation’s physical activity guidelines by 2030.

Through a series of staff workshops, interviews and engagement with some of our key external partners, supported by robust market research, we have captured what we believe is the sole purpose and essence of why Sport Waikato exists:

To influence, impact and lead meaningful change, so everyone can be more active.

Many discussions were had around whether this was also a time to change the name of our organisation to better reflect the play, active recreation and sport aspects of our mahi. The outcome of those discussions was that there was no simple and effective brand name that would encapsulate what we do. We’ve been Sport Waikato for over 35 years; there’s significance and brand integrity in the name. It means a lot to us, and it means a lot to our communities.

The development of the brand

The brand keeps our traditional red, yellow and black but includes colours that speak to collaboration, inclusivity, health, wellbeing and energy. The blue and green are reflective of the land and the river, iconic to our region. The shape of the W is retained, while becoming more playful, energetic and representative of the active nature of our brand, values and goal, while being reflective of the river; woven and connected.


Te Ao Maaori

Our organisation is on a cultural capability journey to ensure that we can connect in an appropriate way with all of our communities, and we wanted our new brand to reflect the importance of this journey. We needed to explore how aspects of Te Ao Maaori could be woven into the logo or additional brand elements to truly reflect where we are at as an organisation. We are still on our journey, knowing there is still a long way for us to go but at the same time, we are proud of where we are on this journey so far.

Two Tongikura previously gifted to us by Waikato Tainui have been such a big part of our organisation, so it was only right that our new brand captured the essence of what we are trying to achieve by utilising these Tongikura – and therefore after much discussion, ‘Hei painga moo te iwi’ was chosen as our byline as it fit with where we are heading and who we are doing the work for. The people. 

Translated: ‘for the betterment of the people’. The full Tongikura is “Mahia te mahi hei painga moo te iwi - do the work for the betterment of the people”, (Te Puea Herangi).

We also had a lot of discussion on translation of the byline into English in the logo itself – but we really wanted there to be an opportunity for people to ask what it means and for conversations to open up around the byline meaning and the cultural journey our organisation is on. 



Once the brand was developed, we then turned to creating a kowhaiwhai pattern to fit with the new brand and further the story of the new brand. 

Created by Wiremu Puke, the puhoro pattern represents speed, swiftness and agility. As a Ta Moko pattern it was found on the thighs of the old-time warriors and as a painted pattern it was used on the underside of the prow and stern of war canoes. 


The kowhaiwhai pattern accompanies the logo in all of our documents and visual elements.

The brand story video

Alongside the new brand visual elements, we thought carefully about how we share this news – not everyone cares when you ‘change your logo’! We wanted our brand reveal to be more than just about a logo – the real brand is our people. They are the most important part of our organisation, and a big part of the journey we have been on. 

We are proud of them! There was a story to tell that was bigger than just a brand reveal and we ultimately wanted to connect our people with our communities while ensuring our communities know what our aim and purpose is. The brand story video was born! Filmed by local Waikato team Play Creative, it’s definitely something we’re so proud to share. 

In the end, what we now have is a brand that reflects who we are and where we are going. A brand that reflects our region, and the people of our communities. A brand that also respects the past but looks toward a brighter future for our people.