What does a respectful platform for acknowledgement look like?


The Royal Commission - Abuse in Care


Visual Identity and interim report


Communication design

Abuse in Care was established in 2018 to inquire and report on historical allegations of abuse in state care and faith-based institutions between 1950 and 2000.

The Royal Commission interacted with hundreds of survivors around the country to help form key themes and common issues from the experiences shared by victims/survivors so far. These findings were to be presented in an interim report to the Governor General. The report aims to drive better care for the future of New Zealand children and vulnerable adults.

The challenge

Ocean Design were tasked with creating the interim report that would have the potential to acknowledge the many lived experiences of abuse and help in the process of redress and healing.

The solution

Designing responsively to appropriately acknowledge victims/survivors. Abuse in Care emphasised that the content was highly sensitive and warned it was likely to strike an emotional chord. Given the delicate topic, it was critical we created a visual design system that excluded triggering imagery or notions. It was fitting that we used illustrations that tied back to the whakataukī which is used as a guiding proverb for the Royal Commission. Centering the illustrations for the report around the whakatauki meant acknowledging the disproportionate number of Māori victims/survivors who have been affected.

The name Tāwharautia - a word that implies providing shelter or care whether physical, emotional or spiritual. The word has broad application. Kia tāwharautia a Mātaatua is a well-known whakataukī urging multiple iwi to unite under a common cause to redress wrongs and to create a tatau pounamu, an enduring peace.

The outcome

The report was divided into two volumes, serving different purposes.

Volume one: Interim Report. A summary of the activities, approach and findings of the Royal Commission. It draws on information gathered and evidence received through private sessions with hundreds of survivors, research, investigations and public hearings.

Volume two: Survivor voices is devoted to survivor voices – an analysis of 50 private session transcripts covering several care settings. It shares survivors’ own words about their experiences and draws out themes that have been heard.

On finalising the interim report, we’re also developing Te Reo Māori, simple read, and large text versions.

Take a look at some other work we've done.
Creative HQ
Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington
Amohia Te Waiora