Toward the end of 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting with Phil Palfrey and Richard Arthurs, the Principal and Deputy Principal at Manurewa East School in Auckland. We discussed the creation of some new brand identity work around their school logo, PB4L program, and school mascot.

After our initial discussions I began thinking about the logo and how I could capture the essence of the school's unique character in its design. What I had to keep in the back of my mind throughout the process was the dual purpose the new logo symbol would serve.  Not only was it going to be used as a mark for their new school logo, it was to be used for the new PB4L logo too. Any new school mascot design had to work with both.


Initial Logo Concept Sketch.

What does "Manurewa" mean?


It is believed that the word "Manurewa" could be translated from the Māori language to mean 'Drifting Kite' or ‘Soaring Bird’ We decided to incorporate both meanings into the branding. The 'Drifting Kite' concept was worked into the logo designs while the 'Soaring Bird' was interpreted through the mascot.


Let's talk about the logos first.

1.  New School Logo Design

Manurewa East School Logo Auckland NZ

New School Logo Design.

Central to the logo design is their values proposition statement, "Keep it REAL" which is the foundation for their PB4L Program. REAL is an acronym for:


Respect for the Environment, All People, and Learning


All People is represented by the head (two koru coming together).

Learning is depicted in the body (the three frangipani symbolize their three core beliefs underpinning their vision for student learning. They want their students to be confident, inquisitive, and articulate. 

Environment is depicted in the lower body (mountains, ocean, and surrounding countryside).


The logo symbol loosely resembles the shape of a Māori kite manu tukutuku. It also symbolizes a Manurewa School Student with their outstretched arms, welcoming all who come to school.


The logo design has an ethnic feel about it to reflect the multicultural nature of the school which is predominantly Māori, Polynesian, and Indian.


The new logo is bold, sharp, and distinctive. It stands out on their school uniform and can't be mistaken for any other school's logo.


Comparing the old and new school logos.

2.  New PB4L Logo Design

PB4L Manurewa East School

New PB4L Logo Design.

After completing the school logo I then looked at their PB4L logo design. We wanted this to be about the students and, therefore, make it less formal, more colourful (one colour for each value), and have a sense of fun about it. The logo symbol is smaller so that the emphasis is on their Values Statement and name - "Keep it REAL".

Individual logos for each value were created in their respective colours. A Logo Style Guide was designed to provide clarity around the use of both the school and PB4L logos.


Logo Style Guide.

3.  "Kahu" Their New School Mascot


After consulting with student leaders a Kahu was chosen as their school mascot. The Kahu, or harrier hawk, enjoys soaring effortlessly around the open countryside on wind thermals. In Māori mythology it appears in the story of Maui.


I kept in close consultation with students (through Richard) during the creative sketch stage of the design to make sure they were happy with the look. To show Kahu's connection with the REAL Values we coloured the tail plumage in the school values colours. The end result is a school mascot that has a lot of character, is slightly cheeky, and brimming with confidence. Above all, the final mascot is a collaboration. It came from the students themselves.

Manurewa East School have already applied the new logo to their school website. I know some posters, flags, uniforms, and signage are on the horizon too. Looking forward to my next visit.

From Richard Arthurs - Deputy Principal at Manurewa East School


"Our South Auckland school was in the process of establishing a new set of values through the PB4L program.  Through this process, we realised that we were also in need of a new and fresh logo, or brand if you like.  A Google search of ‘school rebranding’ led us to the School Branding Matters website.  While travelling to a conference in Christchurch, we met with Craig and told him about our journey, or story if you like, for a good couple of hours.  Within a month he had drafted an impressive visual representation (logo) of our school and what we stood for.  Craig made the trip up to our school to see it in context and meet the students, and our PB4L logo and mascot design soon followed and these were also very well received.  After consulting with students, staff and community and a few tweaks here and there our final designs were locked in and put into use.  We have always found Craig very good to deal with and feel as if he ‘gets’ our school and ideas and what we are trying to achieve.  To this day, he is always available by phone or email to give us advice and any answer any queries we may have.  We would recommend Craig Burton to any school wanting to explore branding or graphic design of any sort."

Richard Arthurs
Deputy Principal, Manurewa East School, New Zealand

Craig Burton School Branding Matters

Want to know more about how to create a new logo or mascot for your school?

I work with schools all around New Zealand. Contact me with any questions you might have.

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