Serbia based designer Jovan grew up in the glorious Adriatic coastal region of Montenegro. After applying to work on a project with Ariki Creative in 2019, Jovan worked on a number of smaller projects together before joining the team full time shortly after. A 2nd shift designer at Ariki Creative, when the NZ based team knocks off for the day, Jovan’s day begins. By the time the team roll in on the following day, completed files are ready and waiting. It is like the Elves and the Shoemaker story but in design.
Jovan graduated in 2011 from the Faculty of Arts and Design in Belgrade after completing a 4-year degree Bachelor in Graphic Design and Visual Communications. He specialises in UX and UI design, brand identity, video and animation. He is a talented and highly skilled calligrapher and his precise design style is evident in his meticulous print publication layouts and love of typography.
He got into art and design through graffiti in high school and hip hop music, attending an academically focused high school that didn’t offer much in the way of creative arts. So for the last 4 years of high school, he attended a separate art school to explore the foundations of what would become his craft.
The 1st year of his degree was heavily art-focused with lots of drawing, calligraphy, clay modelling and painting with strong themes of abstract and expressionist styles. With the biggest conversation being art vs design. By 2nd year Jovan realised that his preference was more on the design side, but took his love of calligraphy with him as he explored design software, publication and advertising design that took him to where he is today.
At home, Jovan is the King of Lego and is raising his two young daughters away from screens deeply in lego land.
His 20-year-old lego collection of Ninjas and Pirates is still going strong and has joined forces with the girl’s modern lego collection for daily adventures of Ninjas vs Princesses. In between lego fests, there is always time for basketball – a regular neighbourhood affair indoors in winter and outside in summer.
To be read in a Pirates’s voice
Here is I, the only and only Hanuera Tutanekai James “Jimmy” Rawson-Rogers. I be born in the 95 of the 1990s. Nicknamed “The Salt” I bring the seasoning to the office.
Competitive is Jimmy’s other middle name and if there is any kind of challenge on the go, you can be sure Jimmy is going to do anything and everything to come out at number 1. After studying at Ara for 3 years he graduated with Bachelor of Multimedia Design and credits his internship at Ariki and Hori’s mentorship to him being able to successfully complete his degree.
Jimmy has been drawing since he was 6 years old a hobby that would eventually turn into a dream profession. “My job at Ariki Creative is to draw pictures for work, which is pretty awesome. I started with anime, like all great things and since then have been working towards carving out my love of illustration into a career path.”
Jimmy joined Ariki Creative as a permanent member of the team in 2020 and is flourishing in a fulfilling career in all things digital design. He is part of the illustration team working on a book for Massey University – Nau mai ki Makirikiri and would really love to explore 3D and virtual reality design in the future.
When Jimmy is not at work he has been known to partake in a little light gaming favouring sessions of Escape Room.
Project Manager and business creative Ana brings a wealth of experience to the Ariki Creative team. Entering the workforce as so many young people do, into retail and hospitality, she also graduated from CPIT, now known as Ara, in 2010 with a Diploma in Business.
Many might remember her as a familiar face at Ōtautahi Women’s Refuge. Ana was one of the women who managed the Crisis line, assisted with inductions and general admin. Part of the role was facilitating and personally fetching women in crisis situations, helping them and their children settle into the safe house.
After graduating, Ana went on to volunteer at Te Puna Oranga – a whānau centred non-profit organisation that provides social services, parenting and women’s programs as well as educational services. In 2011 at the birth of her and Horis eldest daughter, Ana took on the full-time role of Māmā with her youngest daughter following in 2016. With 2 young daughters, her hands were now full.
These days Ana manages an exclusive portfolio of clients for Ariki Creative and is studying Te Reo Māori part-time while managing a young family. When she is not working, studying or Parent Ubering, Ana enjoys a regular escape to the gym.
Hori has been a multi-disciplined digital creative since the 1990s. After honing his skills that he learned on the control pads of Nintendo, he adapted his sights to the Adobe Creative platforms with a foundation in traditional Māori philosophy.
Hori is the Kaihautū and Creative Lead at Ariki Creative, he leads the teams approach on projects and oversees how the teams produce contemporary indigenous content.
He has also pioneered a dedicated pathway for countless young Māori into the digital industry.
“In the community, I grew up in there was not a lot of belief in what is possible, so part of what we do at Ariki is to push through what is possible, building inspiration and belief in what we can do. Taking what I could do as an individual and trying to branch it out into a team and physical space. A space you can visit as a young person and be inspired by.”
A true Urban Māori Futurist, Hori continues to honour the legacy of his mother in a whānau focused business. Creating and nurturing foundations of cultural legacy, authenticity and honesty are just some of the elements that makes Ariki Creative truly unique. Working with a team who are truly in a class of their won.
Outside of work, Hori loves spending time gaming with his daughters and discovering unknown culinary hot spots with his beautiful wife, Ana.
“Ariki Creative is how I look to continue my whānaus legacy, supporting the community to tell their story, communicate and connect to the people in an authentic Maori way, representing the aspirations of our people we serve.
We use the language, art forms and philosophies of our ancestors to create, communicate and connect using the latest technologies and strategies to help our people towards a better future.”
Avid gamer and passionate storyteller Max was originally destined to become the next greatest Engineer post-Christchurch earthquake. But after a 3-year stint studying Civil Engineering, Max quickly realised that it wasn’t for him. So he bought a camera and a drone and started making videos. Exploring his options he added some hospitality, childcare and retail work to his repertoire and it didn’t take long for him to fall hard and fast for his love of video and film creation. In 2017 Max was introduced to Hori and the rest is history.
He joined Ariki Creative as an intern later that year and was plunged into a world of content creation, finding his niche where he was always meant to be – behind the camera.
Max has since become a full-time member of the team and has developed a keen interest in exploring and reconnecting with his Māoritanga, upholding the mana of the people by bringing the stories of whānau and kaupapa Māori businesses to life through film and video.
His initial career exploration and experience was not lost and has contributed to making him a valuable member of the team, as well as making him age twice as fast as the average human being. Today his role has evolved into Project Management as well as Content Creation, “I say yes to everything now.”
Max is about to embark on his biggest film project to date with none other than Julian Arahanga (Nig Heke – Once Were Warriors). #watcthisspace
With a Masters in IT, Prerita arrived in New Zealand from India in 2010, falling in love with the country and settling with her whānau in Napier. An opportunity to teach Computer Science brought her to Christchurch and she lectured at Aspire2 International teaching Level 5 & 6 to students until she met Hori.
Prerita codes in multiple languages, keenly keeping up to date with industry trends and new tech developments to ensure her skills are kept super sharp. Curious by nature she embraces complex challenges that push her skills and knowledge into all kinds of exciting directions. She is always up for a new tech adventure and looks forward to any opportunity for new experiences and to grow her expertise.
A Wordpress fan by far, she also builds static and dynamic websites on platforms like Webflow, Shopify and Squarespace to name a few and is really enjoying the space to be able to work on an exciting variety of bilingual projects in the Toi Māori space.
When she is away, she loves to spend time with her daughter and husband. Here, far from home, she finally had her chance to live her dreams.
Bright spark Eli is the youngest member of the Ariki Creative rōpū infusing a youthful and enthusiastic steeziness to the crew. The combination of his youthful perspective and street-cred connection to the latest up to date trends and knowledge means he always has his finger on the pulse of what is hot right now.
His experience with illustration and love of vectoring, backed with up to date knowledge of design and typography means that he comes up with some pretty tumeke designs. Eli joined the Ariki Creative whānau as an intern in 2018 and became a permanent rōpū member in 2019.
Part-time Ariki Creative design guru and part-time student, Eli has already earned his Level 5 Diploma in Web and Graphic Design from Yoobee and is currently working towards completing his Level 6 in Graphic Design. Eli is constantly busy upskilling himself and learning new things, soaking up information like a creative sponge. His interest in exploring more Toi Māori has him now officially learning the ropes under the innovative eye of the Ariki team leadership.
His favourite things to design at the moment are vectors and icons an indication of his knack for precision design and love of crisp clean lines. So when it comes to typography, it was a no brainer transition to make. Eli had the opportunity to design and create his own custom typography for a recent design project and absolutely loved the experience.
If Eli isn’t working, studying or gaming he can be found shooting a few hoops on the basketball court and hanging out with his mates.
Sammy is the meticulously organised, stationery obsessed designer in the corner of the office surrounded by plants. Exceptionally detail orientated with incredibly high design standards, she brings over 10 years of industry experience to the team.
Her diverse and transferable skill set draws from a dynamic background as a multifaceted freelancer. Specialising in digital and offset printing, with marketing and eCommerce experience. Sammy was also a sought-after bespoke stationery designer and her elegant signature touch continues to be seen in her work today.
Her expertise as a highly-skilled designer, combined with her reputation for excellence and precision caught the attention of Hori, and she left her own business to join him and go down a new path. She has a passion for layout, typography and corporate design and is always ready to dive in headfirst to tackle any kind of project. Sammys’ absolute commitment to concept and client along with her dedication in creating beautiful, stylish and professional designs is what continues to make a team and client favourite.
A self-confessed craft and coffee fanatic, there is always a new creative project on the go. Sammy loves nothing more than embarking on challenging creative projects, teaching herself everything she needs to know before moving onto the next complex creation she sets her sights on. She is a self-taught jewellery designer, seamstress, artist and has recently started making skincare products. When Sammy isn’t creating or crafting she can be found at the park with her two cute puppies, or skiing in the mountains.
Damian, aka Damo Digital, is the in-house animation and audio whiz at Ariki Creative. Originally a trained jazz musician, he started learning computer-based music production in the early 2000s before going on to teach audio production for 5 years.
”I felt like music wasn’t challenging me creatively and in 2012 I took a leap of faith and embarked on an intensive couple of years learning animation and visual effects. I knew Hori from back in the “rap days” and knew that he had branched out and started Ariki Creative which was booming. By 2014 when I had a solid understanding of and some experience with basic video editing and production I approached him to see if I could make some videos for him. Hori declined as he solely worked on logos and illustration. But a month later Hori was approached by a client for some video production work, he got in touch and the rest is history.”
Now, years later with hundreds of projects under his belt, Damo takes pride in creating high quality, visually stunning work with a customized soundtrack to suit.
With over 20 years of administration experience from large corporations to sole traders. Lorraine was invited to join Ariki Creative whānau at the beginning of 2019 and has never looked back.
She considers herself quite possibly the luckiest PA in the world working in a creative environment with the most amazing people.
As PA, Lorraine’s role consists of everything she does best – the not so secret glue that keeps the team together and keeps everything running smoothly. Her support enables Hori to focus on what he does best and she takes care of the rest. While also handling admin for the whole team including huis, flights, appointments and events – all in a day’s work.
“I really love the people and the whānau culture at Ariki Creative. I love the day-to-day challenges too, you just never know what is going to come up next. No two days are the same.”
A keen walker she keeps herself busy outside of work walking and exploring trails that Aotearoa has to offer. As a Mom to two adult sons, her home whānau includes a much-loved motley crew of 2 cats, a 3 legged dog and 4 spoilt chickens. At the end of a big day, Lorraine loves nothing more than to relax with a glass or two of Prosecco.
Born and bred on the surf and streets of New Brighton, Ōtautahi, Tuha grew up with the salt in his eyes and asphalt on his Knees. A Pasifika, Pākehā creative living on Tangaroa’s front doorstep, his love for the moana was inevitable; his fondness for the streets set in the stone he skated on.
By the time high school rolled around, Tuha’s hobbies had evolved into snowboarding and basketball and took up most of his free time. Those were good years. After finishing at Shirley Boys, he began studying graphic design at the University of Canterbury.
Not just crazy about his sports, university gave Tuha the opportunity to build upon his passion for music. And what do you get when you put a band of Shirley Old Boys together? A steezy crew known as The Caffeinated Collective. Putting on shows ranging from backyard flat gigs, sets at uni events to festivals, they soon released their debut EP titled Blue Mountain.
During his studies Tuha discovered he had a passion for filmaking and he knew that when he graduated, film would be a discipline he ventured into. Since graduating, he’s designed multiple publications and worked in different music festivals along some of the big names in the industry. With the move to Ariki, Tuha now has the freedom to do mahi he loves while finally learning to make movies and shooting hoops in his free time.
Finnish born Kiwi gamer enthusiast Mike grew up in Finland and the UK before moving to New Zealand at 13 with his Finnish Mother and Māori Father. After leaving school he studied graphic design at Yoobee. Graduating in 2016 and not able to find the job he wanted, Mike branched out into freelance design work with a part-time role at a printing company and an unglamorous job on the graveyard shift at Hellers in Kaiapoi to keep the boat afloat.
Mike was hustling but he felt he wasn’t growing and frustrated he approached his lecturer at Yoobee who recommended he get in touch with Hori at Ariki Creative. Mike was offered an internship at Ariki in 2018 and grabbed the opportunity with both hands, bidding an immediate farewell to his graveyard shift job at the meatworks and set his sights on new horizons.
Fast forward to today and Mike who has been a permanent member of the Ariki Creative team since 2019, has found his calling in illustration and branding. Designing and creating a visual voice for businesses from scratch is a rewarding experience for Mike and he loves nothing more than reinventing old brands and injecting them with fresh flair and a distinct bicultural touch.
Mike is currently part of the illustration team working on a book for Massey University and would like to branch out more into layouts and book illustrations as well as continue to build and grow experience in Toi Māori design. He is also the Ariki Creative Project Manager for the Illustrations stream of the business.
In the summer he likes to be outdoors and enjoys the fresh air and a spot of gym now and again.
With over 20 years of print industry experience from the print room to the sales floor, you can safely say that designer Riana has ink in her veins. In 2005 while working at a local print company Riana met another talented and ambitious designer – Hori. Their paths continued to cross for the next 13 years as their projects frequently cross-pollinated through print and design.
Hori went on to start his own design agency in 2007 and they continued to work together throughout the years. Ariki Creative grew from strength to strength and Hori welcomed Riana on board as Business Manager in 2018.
Riana operates from the unwavering belief that building strong and transparent relationships with clients is the key foundation of any successful business. “Understanding the client’s needs is critical to delivering what they want, on time and within budget but also exceeding their expectations.”
Her sharp business acumen, unparalleled print experience and resolute fiscal discipline have made her an indispensable and respected member of the Ariki Creative team. And when it comes to projects, Riana has developed a formidable reputation as a troubleshooter when things don’t go according to plan
At Ariki, Riana manages the accounts ensuring that the business, the staff and the bills get paid. She is also a dedicated project manager for specific clients and the familiar face from start to finish for every project. Working with clients right from the proposal step through to when they receive their final invoice from her with a smile.
Outside of the office Riana still owns and runs her Christchurch based design business and splits her time between holding down the fort at Ariki and managing her own clients during the week. A keen runner with a young family, Riana still finds time occasionally to keep her art hand in on the canvas.
With a passion for art and design and a deep foundation in Te Ao Māori, Taane brings a profound blend of strong Māori narratives and art to the forefront.
Originally hailing from King Country, he grew up in a strong traditional family with a father who was a Master Carver and dedicated storyteller. Exposed to Toi Māori from a young age, through his fathers’ teachings and deep-seated connection to Māori art, he has been able to hone and add his own unique flair to contemporary Toi Māori design.
Originally studying to be a teacher, the birth of his eldest daughter in year 3 of a 4-year degree meant that he had to put his studies on hold to enter the workforce as a labourer. But not long afterwards a rugby injury put his labouring work to rest and again he found himself at a crossroad.
As luck would have it, Taane had kept his creative craft alive and was invited to display and sell some of his artwork at the Te Pūtahitanga symposium that was held at the town hall. Hori from Ariki Creative was attending the event and Taanes artwork immediately caught his eye. In April 2019, Taane joined the team as an Intern in Digital Design.
With a steady hand and fastidious attention to detail, spatial and logo design has become a firm favourite of Taanes, but he has not lost his passion for teaching. With Horis support, he is looking to complete his teaching degree and work with Hori to create a mentoring programme to help more young people discover their pathways to the design industry.
Fresh out of high school and straight into Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, John first found his footing in the graphic design world as an intern there. With ample opportunity to move between different teams, he was exposed to a multitude of design needs within journalism, Ngāi Tahu’s whakapapa unit, I.T, tourism and many more.
By going wide with an array of teams, John didn’t get the chance to go narrow and develop his own design style until working at Ariki. Small teams, tight deadlines, complex projects — it was a melting pot of creativity for John to sink his teeth into.
When the opportunity to work on Virtual reality design came around, this was the first time John could really see himself in the creative media industry long term. Making cool stuff had always been his passion and VR certainly fell into that category. Along with getting to deal with his own clients while at Ngāi Tahu Tourism — Rainbow Springs, Shotover Jet and GSLH Helicopters to name a few — his experience with VR inspired him to futher study design. Nearing the end of his Level 5 Diploma in Web and Graphic Design, John plans on celebrating this next achievement by shouting himself the a VR headset before moving onto a Level 6 Diploma in Web Design in 2021.
Graphic designer by day and lowkey cooking extraordinaire by night, Nemesis is one of the
new graphic design interns at Ariki Creative. Growing up in México surrounded by vibrancy and colour, Nemesis was drawn to study graphic design at the University of UPAEP. While
at university she spent a year of her studies abroad in Madrid before graduating in 2015.
Coming to Aotearoa that she might better her reo Pākehā, in November 2019, Nemesis and her friend — a Mechatronics Engineer — made the move. She enrolled as an English student at Abacus and in no time, Nemesis also joined the Ariki Creative whānau. Driven to further hone her design skills while also practising her English, Nemesis has hit the ground running here at Ariki.
Experienced in illustration, animation, print and digital 3D Modelling, Nemesis has enjoyed delving into a wide range of creative disciplines over the years. While in Aotearoa, she’s embraced the opportunity to learn Te Reo Māori and finds herself picking up more of the reo everyday as it flows back into her design mahi.
When she’s not working, you’ll find Nemesis reading or tramping through one of Aotearoa’s
many trails. To blow off steam after a big day she loves to run and whip up new recipes in
the kitchen, trying new flavours and dishes — her favourite being pasta dishes, Chinese
food and of course Mexican cuisine.
Descending from Ngāti Irakehu and Ngāti Hāua, at a young age Te Aotahi suspected his passion
lay in the worlds of graphic design and Toi Māori. Often scribbling in the pages of his books during class, his mind already thought in patterns and lines.
Te Aotahi spent 6 months interning at Ariki Creative during his high school years. A dream situation. Gaining hands-on experience in the design industry, he was inspired to further pursue the discipline at university. With eyes fixed on te pae tawhiti, he enrolled at Te Herenga Waka specializing in creative media and communications design.
A year and a half in, caught between a hectic study schedule and mahi to pay the bills, Te Aotahi realised the path he was on would always stretch his energy excessively thin. That was not how he wanted to grow. Switching it up, he decided to move back home and dive head-first into freelancing full-time. There he could work, grow and build his base from a position of strength with a solid support network around him.
Te Aotahi did well freelancing; his steady stream of mahi remaining intact even during Covid-19
and the lockdown. And soon after lockdown as fate would have it, Hori again offered this now 20-year-old kid from Kāi Tahu country the opportunity to do Ariki’s full internship programme.
Putting the tahi in Te Aotahi, watch on as this young fulla levels up his design tohungatanga like Zoro honing the three sword style 🗡 ⚔
Photographing by instinct and editing through the lens of her linguistics degree, Trinity walks between the worlds of picture and prose.
In 2017 after 3 years in the university grind, Trinity graduated from Te Herenga Waka/Victoria University with a BA in Linguistics and Te Reo Māori. Studying these subjects with tino
rangatiratanga in mind, she worked to further develop herself as a writer who also had the ability to self-edit. Upon graduating Trinity became the research assistant to senior law lecturer Māmari Stephens in Te Herenga Waka’s law faculty. When her six month contract ended she dived headfirst into becoming a full-time photographer.
Trinity accumulated a wealth of experience shooting for organisations like Ngāi Tahu, Tukau
Legacy, Jeuneora, Tahi Skincare, Te Rau Ora and Te Ara Whatu, among others. Driven by her
conviction for social justice she also documented kaupapa like #protectihumātao as persona lpassion projects. She’s most well known for her black, white and red renditions of images from the #protectihumātao marches, festivals and reclamation.
Having shot everything from products to weddings, events, portraits, kapa haka, mokopapa, stock imagery and whānau, she’s spent the last two years finding and honing her own aesthetic. Incorporating Te Ao Māori into her mahi, she focuses on whakawhānaungatanga as the means to draw out natural, candid shots which otherwise wouldn’t be captured.
While Trinity had occasionally worked with Ariki, it wasn’t until the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown that she realised as a creative, she could only go so far on her own. Since joining the whānau she’s loved every minute of her mahi and looks forward to working among the best people, and best tech, in the creative industry.