A Matter of Design

“We are but visitors on this planet. We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful with our lives. If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.”

~HH Dalai Lama

“A poet knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Leonardo da Vinci



This website came into being following a lot of thought and an inner impulse to start again, from a  deep sense that it was time to close some doors and put an old me behind me. For 14 years, after leaving teaching and setting out to make a name for myself, my thistonybridge branding was no longer working. I was no longer that interested in ‘making it’. In a sense I already had. My work was beginning to find its own voice, and that was enough. However, I did not want it to blush unseen, And ‘waste its sweetness on the desert air’. Over Christmas, I drew and sketched and thought and wrote. Nowadays an artist’s presence is online, his website the portfolio. Gradually a few goals began to emerge. The site should somehow step beyond a vanity site to something which might do greater good in the world. It should be a place of beauty and inspiration. It should be a small oasis of peace and harmony in the world. It should be a gallery for my art and writing. It should offer a space for learning and conversation, and it should have room to breathe, to move in different directions. It should, above all, be a living document.

I studied off-the-peg solutions like Squarespace and Wix but found them all too prescriptive. I would have to build it myself. Then I  got down to work.


 The most critical part of building a site is choosing a domain name, for this is the hub around which the website cartwheel turns. Ideas bounced around until a friend showed me my power words. Among them was a phrase which stood out. Inner light. That made perfect sense. Like Nicholas Roerich, the Russian Symbolist painter, my art has become the outward expression of my inner understandings. So ..innerlight. When I checked with a domain registrar, only one version remained: innerlight.io. Perfect. In the ancient Māori spiritual tradition of IO Matua Kore ( IO the master/father of All), IO is also the name of The God beyond God. So: https://innerlight.io.

The logo

It began from a simple doodle which appeared one day as I was thinking (out loud on paper). I gave it to the guys at Ariki Creative, a Māori design company based in Christchurch. Mikael Tuhaka, one of their talented designers, refined it into what it has become.

The logo shows the scattered nature of my whakapapa. It references Ngā Hau e Wha, the four winds. It also draws reference to Tāwhirimātea, one of my guardian atua. It symbolises the apparently erratic flight of the tiirairaka ( piwekaweka/fantail), and my ancestor Tiirairaka, who arrived with Kupe on the great waka, Matawhaorua around 975AD. The colourings represent pounamu or greenstone, and thus Te Waka Atua/ Te Wahipounamu/ the South Island. The background of the waka is an image  I made of Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) and references the final departure point from this life for many of us Māori (See header image for this page).  Thus the tips of both islands are brought together.

You can see the image in greater detail here.