The New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (TEU) logo is distinctly of Aotearoa New Zealand genesis and the designer, Te Kororia Natana, incorporates traditional union values of collectivism and solidarity in to contemporary Māori motifs. Both are underpinned by the philosophy of institutional values such as the rights and responsibilities of academic freedom and the practice of protecting and enhancing the rights of union members.
In this way, the TEU is like the kaitiaki (guardian), ensuring equal value and fair treatment for all its members through a partnership which embraces the concept of the promise of two peoples, Māori (mana tāngata whenua) and Pākehā (mana tāngata Tiriti), to take the best possible care of each other.
In terms of the logo itself, the two centre koru represent the voices of general staff (left red koru) and academic staff (right gold koru). Combined, they form Te U (short for Ukaipo) or original source of sustenance, the heart, mind, and soul of the union, its members of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures mutually supporting each other emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
The larger elongated-koru symbolise governance (gold) and management (red) and are a metaphor for Te Kauae Runga (knowledgeable members) and Te Kauae Raro (highly-skilled union staff). Together they form the TEU, a democratic union driven by its members who are serviced and organised by specialist union staff.
Each colour in the logo conveys a different meaning, red signifies Te Toto or ancestral bloodline of the membership origins (AUS and ASTE Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa) and future, and the gold exemplifies Te Ao Mārama or world of enlightenment and opportunities for the TEU.