Editor's Picks for New Zealand Culture

This is a cross-post of our mini-series chronicling the creative concepts exhibited by the community in our Card Ideas Competition.

From the island nation’s earliest Māori whakapapa and toi to its pioneering heritage over the past 400 years, Aotearoa New Zealand has a unique culture that is challenging to distil down to just one thing. For many, modern New Zealand is represented through Kiwi nostalgia for holidays with the whānau, referenced by such symbols as jandals, gum boots, native flora and fauna, campervans and iconic vistas while others celebrate our arts and stories.

Debut is a new kind of bank founded by Kiwis for Kiwis. Whether it’s engaging with respect for those who came before us or embracing cheeky Kiwi humour, we want Debut to reflect New Zealanders.

Contestants in our card ideas competition have suggested we feature sports heroes and Māori gods alike, as well as Kiwiana symbols, like the silver ferns, fantails and giant L&P bottles.

Māui Fishing with the Hook by Daniel Chambers

Blending both traditional Māori folklore and Kiwiana, Daniel Chambers’ interpretation of Maui fishing the North Island of New Zealand out of Lake Waikaremoana paints a vivid picture ripe with legend and fabulously kitsch Kiwi charm. I can’t help but picture the over-the-top scene as if from a WASJIG puzzle, quite possibly like those Daniel, a father of five, may have completed with his tamariki over the holidays. This story was also inspired by Daniel’s Iwi who hold this lake sacred.

Go to Māui Fishing with the Hook | Vote for Māui Fishing with the Hook

Kiwi Icons Throughout Aotearoa by Willow Toon

No stranger to unusually large kai in the countryside, Willow Toon remembers good old Kiwi summers road-tripping around New Zealand with her whānau. Infamous Kiwi icons, like the Ohakune Carrot, the L&P Bottle in Paeroa and others, such as the Taihape Gumboot or Pania, the legendary guardian of the Reef in Napier represent classic Kiwi icons of her childhood she now happily shares with her own four tamariki.

Go to Kiwi Icons Throughout Aotearoa | Vote for Kiwi Icons Throughout Aotearoa

Silver Fern by Jerome Mahutoto

A world-famous Kiwi icon, the silver fern is what inspired Jerome Mahutoto’s card idea. According to tale, Māori would leave ferns on the ground, silver-side up, pointing the way home through the forests at night. Working in social housing, Jerome is passionate about seeing families heading in the right direction. He wants to see people succeed at forging a better future for themselves and their whānau. The silver fern represents enduring power, strength, renewal and nature and has become synonymous with New Zealand as a nation.

Go to Silver Fern | Vote for Silver Fern

Whether your ancestry in New Zealand dates back centuries or you only recently found your home in Aotearoa, this captivating archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean is something to treasure and protect. Here at Debut, we count ourselves lucky to live in one of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth. What entry was your favourite?

The concepts above were shared by community members in Debut’s Card Idea Competition. Voting closes tomorrow.

See Entries and Vote


Please note, Debut is not a registered bank under the Banking (Prudential Supervision) Act. This is about our future intentions. Investments with us are not supervised currently by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.