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Avatar and Tintin creator named first Maori Asia Society leader

 Hamilton – A talented Kiwi animated movie creator involved in Avatar and Tintin, Nikora Ngaropo, has just been named the first Maori person to be awarded the Asia Society’s leaders programme.

Ngaropo has been inducted into the network of highly influential leaders across the Asia-Pacific region. The society has its headquarters in New York.

“I’m ecstatic, I’m not really the type of person to show emotion but this was a big deal for me. It validates what we’ve been doing and means I can open the door for other amazing Māori in our community.

“I’ll be pushing to connect opportunities for Aotearoa in both these areas. I sit on the working group for the New Zealand Asean Business Alliance which spans across all Asean countries. This award is a massive honour. They receive 1500 applications every year.

“There are two movies which really standout for me. Avatar was the first because it broke new ground in cinema. The second was Tintin which was Weta’s first full length animated feature.

“There was a massive learning curve for everyone involved, Huge hours some amazing new developments in technology but a completely different pipeline to what we were used too.

“I learned that leadership is everywhere and comes in all shapes and sizes; for me, it is about helping others achieve greatness.”

After six years, Ngaropo, who has links to Te Rarawa, Tuhoe, Ngāti Porou, and Ngāti Kahungungu tribes, left Wet a and set up NNMD and Young Animators to lead with work in the commercial and public sectors.

He is in discussions with the Canadian and Australian governments to create a pipeline to help support Young Animators students.

Ngaropo works voluntarily with New Zealand students to teach them about 2D hand-drawn animation and 3D stop motion techniques cultivating skills which can transfer across virtual and real-world scenarios, with the help of a Ka Hao Maori tech funding.

Ngaropo, a product of Hato Paora Maori school in Fielding and Onslow College in Wellington, has been involved with kapa haka at Ngati Poneke, Te Whanganui a tara, Tu te Maungaroa as a young boy.

“The first trip I went on I was 12, with no family members, and we went to Italy for six weeks, performing kapa haka up and down the country.

“I guess I was in the right place at the right time it came down to an introduction from a good friend to a head of department. Next thing you know I had a contract and I was working on Avatar.

“After leaving Weta, I was appointed national manager of creative services at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in 2015.

“I led a team that rebranded the organisation, then a year later I launched my own company – Nikora Ngaropo Motion & Design.”

Ngaropo was a finalist in the NZ-HiTech awards last year for the work he has done with Young Animators.


For further information contact Nikora Ngaropo on 027 9723060 or Make Lemonade NZ news director Kip Brook on 0275 030188.


Photo: Nikora Ngaropo




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