Nau mai, welcome to the Otago Regional Council’s new website. 

The previous website had remained largely the same since 2017. Since then, advances in technology meant that we had an opportunity to ensure visitors to our website had a vastly improved experience. With an increasing number of people using mobile phones to visit our pages, especially to get public transport information, it was also clear that ORC needed a more device-friendly site. 

We also recognised the need for improved search and navigation functions so users could quickly and easily find what they need. A new website design would also give us the ability to present information in different and more accessible ways, for example, in tables, feature blocks and image galleries. 

Goals of the new ORC website

The website re-design project set out to achieve three main goals: 

  1. Deliver easy access to services and information — by providing easy access to information from homepages; different options to find information (search, top navigation, A-Z search bar); clear, consistent and structured page designs to help users explore and navigate; and making the mobile experience easy and functional.  

  2. Enhance our relationship with mana whenua — through visual design collaboration, te reo Māori woven into navigation, a whakataukī that features on the homepage and including placenames on photographs. 

  3. Promote ORC’s work across the region — Flexible visual design, creating space for photography of staff and the environment and the ability to communicate and explain the various projects occurring in Otago.  

Co-design process

The Otago Regional Council worked with local iwi Kāi Tahu and mana whenua-owned consultancy Aukaha to help incorporate Kāi Tahu values, narratives and reo Māori into the design of the new ORC website.  

The reo that is used on our website has been provided by Kāi Tahu reo experts from Tēnei Te Ruru Ltd and some words may differ from te reo Māori used in places not in the Kāi Tahu territory.  

By incorporating te reo Māori, the Otago Regional Council is contributing to fostering better relationships between mana whenua, Māori, and all New Zealanders. 

Whakataukī and designs

This whakataukī was provided by mana whenua and underpins mana whenua and ORC aspirations. It has been used to guide our design works on the website:  

Toitū te marae a Tāne 
Toitū te marae a Takaroa 
Toitū te takata. 

If the land is well 
If the sea is well 
the people will thrive. 

This whakataukī reminds us that when our environment is flourishing, our people will flourish, and calls for us to act as good kaitiaki (guardians) to our lands, rivers, lakes and seas.  

Aukaha selected Kāi Tahu artist Andre Te Hira to develop a series of designs used across the website that reference the domains of Takaroa and Tāne, as well as the wellbeing of our people. 

These designs pull together aspects of mahika kai, used in the traditional pattern called a pātikitiki, which is a based on the flounder, to symbolise sustenance, abundance of sea life and the wellbeing of the environment in the domain of Takaroa.  

The aramoana pattern refers to the traditional travel routes throughout the whenua traversing through oceans, lakes and rivers – referring to the domain of Tāne and Takaroa.  

The kaokao pattern refers to protection, strength and resilience, implying thriving communities and the role of the Otago Regional Council. 

Imagery referring to kāika, settlements, depicts the landscape throughout the region. 

Other design aspects reference natural hazards and draw on the atua (gods) Rūaumoko, the atua of earthquakes, and the atua of the wind, Tāwhirimatea, while the , a traditional digging stick, draws on whakapapa as it references the Waitaha (early tribe to occupy Te Waipounamu) ancestor Rakaihautū who dug out the great southern lakes with his kō named Tu Whakarōria. 

We’ve used imagery of ngutu kākā, or the kākā beak, to symbolise the native flora and fauna, whose movements also resemble the different waterways throughout the region, while the niho taniwha (taniwha teeth) patterns highlight the taniwha as kaitiaki of our region, reminding us to care for our taiao/environment. 

Aukaha selected Kāi Tahu artist Andre Te Hira to develop a series of designs used across the website that reference the domains of Takaroa and Tāne, as well as the wellbeing of our people.

New features

A collaborative design effort between ORC, Aukaha and digital web development partner Effect, the new website has many other new features, including: 

  • Te reo Māori woven into first- and second-level navigation, and a bilingual toggle on topic introductions. 
  • Place names and captions on feature images. Images showcasing our ātaahua/beautiful region are used in prominent positions across the site. 
  • A new ‘Do it online’ section that makes it easy for users to find and perform online tasks, such as making payments, applying for a consent, reporting pollution and more. 
  • Improved search functions, including more filters and additional search options on events, news and project pages, and an A-Z search bar. 
  • A new Orbus public transport section with its own navigation that looks and feels like a mobile app. Orbus-specific search now only returns content from this Orbus section.  
  • Images in prominent positions across site. 
  • A refreshed top navigation that highlights the mahi/work ORC does. 
  • Video capability on the homepage.

We will continue to add more new features as they become available.

Page last updated 9 July 2024.