Whānau Ora and Southsides drive Census with ‘Rep Your Suburb’ campaign via Motion Sickness

In a bid to boost Census participation, Whānau Ora has partnered with Motion Sickness to launch an innovative campaign targeting underrepresented communities in Tāmaki Makaurau.

In just three weeks, the organisation has received over 8,500 completed forms — 85 percent of its projected goal — which is a testament to the effectiveness of the ‘by Māori, for Māori’ approach at the heart of Whānau Ora.

Census turnout was lower than expected this year, particularly within Māori and Pasifika whānau. In Tāmaki Makaurau, area codes are a symbol where you’re from and who you are. So to connect people with their local pride, Motion Sickness created a bespoke pop-up store, decked out with exclusive merch for each area code — none of which were available or for sale anywhere else. The only way people could get a piece of gear and rep their suburb was by completing their Census form. 

Throughout June, the mobile pop-up store is roaming suburbs with area coded merchandise and Census assistance — taking it directly to the people.

The pop-up shop is a unique activation that uses the hype around streetwear culture, collectible items and exclusive drops to get people excited about the Census.

“Te iwi Māori commitment and involvement have yielded exceptional results. Māori providers have made significant strides, providing strong support for their communities. Their participation in the Census conversation has brought about positive change, shifting towards a more holistic approach that meets the needs of Māori. Engagement models like pop-up shops have fostered increased participation and connection among our whānau. Ultimately the ‘Rep Your Suburb’ campaign has been producing remarkable results that will have lasting impacts in Māori communities,” says Lance Norman, Director of Health Reforms.

‘Rep Your Suburb’ centres around community engagement and presence, with Whānau Ora kaimahi accompanying the pop-up store. For communities that often feel overlooked, kanohi ki te kanohi kōrero is crucial. The Whānau Ora team on the ground strengthens engagement with the community in a way that the government isn’t able to; with trust and understanding.

The message underpinning ‘Rep Your Suburb’ emphasises the fact that you can’t be represented if you aren’t counted and by being included, communities are able to receive resources and adequate support based on their population and specific needs.

Whānau Ora has also collaborated with Geoffery Matautia of Southsides, a local creative, known for his authentic community portraits. Matautia believes that face-to-face engagement with underrepresented communities is vital, and echoes the importance of amplifying their voices. 

Southsides’ knack for capturing authenticity is key for the static elements of the campaign, and he has also joined Waipareira staff on the ground.

Motion Sickness worked with media partners MBM to promote the campaign via radio, OOH media, and social media, with social channels posting live updates on the shop’s whereabouts. A webpage on the Waipareira site also chronicles planned drops and street visits.

“This has been all about motivating Aucklanders at a grassroots level,” says Will Tran of MBM. “We’ve activated through placements that sit at the heart of the community, whether this be the local shops, libraries or leisure centres.”

“We recognise the importance the Census holds for all New Zealanders and are grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside Whānau Ora and Motion Sickness in bringing this to life.”

‘Rep your suburb’ is live across Tāmaki Makaurau throughout June until the final Census deadline.


Whānau Ora team:Lance Norman, Danielle Cuthers,Lance Norman,Awerangi Tamihere,Renee Solomon-Tauhinu

Kaitaunaki Māori (Head of Māori Culture): Kātene Durie-Doherty

Executive Creative Director: Sam Stuchbury

Creative Director: Jordan Stent
Head of Production: Joseph McAlpine

Head of Strategy: Hilary Ngan Kee

Senior Creative: Melina Fiolitakis

Senior Designer: Raphael Roake

Account Director: Joe Fraei

Creative: Schumacher Leona

Media Partner: MBM

Client Service Director: Will Tran

Digital Director: Denise Tan 

Set Art Director: Dion Boothby

Photography: Finn Cochran

Photography Assistant: Taylor Prichard

Prop-buyer: Tash Hopkins

Sound Recording: BigPop Studio

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