A recent graduate of EIT’s Master of Professional Creative Practice has put the final feathers on Hawke’s Bay’s dedicated Air Ambulance, operated by Skyline Aviation.
Artist Tim Whaitiri-Henderson, with the supporting supervision of Chris Bryant-Toi from EIT’s IDEAschool, was tasked with designing the livery on Skyline Aviation’s newly relaunched B200C Air Ambulance ZK-PLK.
The design reflects its Māori name ‘Te Manu Atawhai’ as a ‘bird of care’ that will take to the sky in about 2000 missions annually.
It recalls the narrative of the Pacific ancestor, Māui and the kōkako bird.
According to traditional Māori narratives, the kōkako filled its blue wattles with water to provide relief to Māui while he fought with the sun, Tama-nui-te-rā.
Inspired by this narrative, Tim visually acknowledges the kōkako as a ‘manu atawhai’ or avian aid providing health care and wellbeing within a Māui spiral design that demonstrates overcoming adversity.
Seeing it for the first time was an emotional experience.
“You spend hours and hours on the computer trying to get an idea of what it might look like, so to finally see it in reality, I’m blown away,” Tim says.
Tim has gone on to start his own business, Toi Whaitiri. He says it is the first time he has been given the honour of creating a design like this.
“Through my Master’s, and the environment EIT provided, I was able to reconnect with my culture.”
Chris says this is an example of how EIT equips students with the skills needed to interact with the community and give back.
New Zealand Air Ambulance Service CEO Annabel Toogood says working with Tim, iwi and Kaumatua Tiwana Aranui enabled them to design the future look of their air ambulance service that symbolises cultural inclusion and reflection of the work the aircraft does.
Skyline Aviation and the New Zealand Air Ambulance specialise in providing medically equipped air ambulance aircraft and trained aeromedical pilots, doctors and nurses to transport patients in and out of the region.