Education New Zealand
June 2022
What we did
Kaupapa Māori storytelling / Line production / Documentary / Film / Photography

A new design for New Zealand education

In partnership with Special Group, we helped redesign the future of New Zealand education in a global brand campaign for international students.


Education New Zealand (ENZ) needed a new global campaign emphasising New Zealand’s unique attributes for international students when the country reopened in July 2022 after two years of closed borders.

With Special Group, they landed on ‘I am NEW’ - an idea that invited international students to work with renowned Māori fashion designer, Kiri Nathan (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Maru, Ngāti Haua), to design a graduation gown (traditionally called a ‘garb’) embodying the cultural values that make an Aotearoa education unique. As the production partner, how could we help tell this story and translate the idea into a campaign that would resonate across the globe?


Working with experienced director, Hannah McOwan, our human-centred storytelling approach ensured audiences would experience the gown redesign process through the eyes of our international students, with all narratives in the campaign focussed on their experiences and goals.

In the campaign hero video and 7 minute long-form documentary, we ensured Special’s vision came to life with the gown treated as a canvas on which the values and traits of the NZ education experience were projected - a bespoke, beautifully crafted taonga that weaved together the best parts of many cultures.

Authentically rooting every part of the campaign in Te Ao Māori values was central to the overall idea, specifically those that make an education in Aotearoa unique: manaakitanga (care of people), kaitiakitanga (care of place), and the pōtiki spirit of youthful energy and finding a better way. Highlighting these values was key in our approach to the 60-second individual, documentary-style films we made for eight international students.

Ultimately, we produced nearly 100 campaign assets, including cutdowns for all the films, performance marketing and social media assets, and a comprehensive suite of photography assets.


Since rolling out across the globe in June 2022, the ‘I Am NEW’ campaign has had over 316 million impressions with 71 million engagements, and increased web traffic to ENZ by 200% in the campaign period.

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A group of international students pose for a photo while wearing custom made garbs.
Man spins in custom made garb.
Two woman stand side by side while wearing custom made garbs.
Four international students pose for photo while wearing their custom made garbs.
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