Based in Addington, one of Christchurch’s artsy-industrial neighbourhoods, digital creativity flows thick and fast from the building nicknamed ‘The Promised Land’ in which Māui Studios is based.
“I’m the guy with the crazy beard” – Vincent Egan’s disclaimer with the photos he sends in of him and his business partner Madison Henry-Ryan at Māui Studios.
With a backward cap, big grin and impressive facial hair, Egan is every bit the creative digital entrepreneur that makes up Christchurch’s tech scene.
Animation, illustration, virtual reality, augmented reality and digital design – if it’s imaginative, and digital, then Māui Studios is all over it.
But as the name suggests, Māui Studios has a kaupapa, a belief system, that drives the heart and direction of the business.
“Our kaupapa is to offset the negative statistics around Māori, to help young Māori into higher education and support our whānau and community through sustainable business practices,” Egan said.
A browse of their portfolio is proof enough of what he means. Take for example their collaboration with the Ministry of Education to develop a Te Reo Māori curriculum resource. Delivered as an augmented reality graphic novel, it gave students a localised view of their whakapapa and knowledge of Te Reo Māori.
“We’re working hard to push the boundaries, to help lift the capability of our youth demographic and support our communities,” he said.
With clients located around New Zealand, Christchurch has proven an ideal spot to grow the business and connect with customers.
“Christchurch has changed so much over the last five years, its awesome. It’s the ideal spot for us to base ourselves. It’s an easy city to get around and to connect with clients all over Aotearoa. There’s an awesome network of creative organisations here to bounce ideas around with,” he said.
When quizzed on what he loved most about Christchurch, Egan’s response was absolute – “the food here is amazing”. He wasn’t short on recommendations either.
He rattled off his favourites including the best Chinese in town – a family restaurant in Riccarton offering authentic Szechuan cuisine, the newly built Riverside Market in the heart of the city, and Little High which offers a smorgasbord of gastro delights.
Egan’s spare time was taken up with “uncle duties” as he enjoyed time with whānau and friends. His top picks included Margaret Mahy playground, swimming at Taiora QEII Pool and Sports Centre and walks on the beach “where you can contemplate the big things in life”.
Contemplating the big things in life is something Egan will be doing more of over the summer as Māui Studio sets its sights on some big fish – the Chinese and American markets.
To do this they’ll be looking to hire more staff to fuel their ambitious dreams of growth, creativity without limitation and kaupapa Māori.
Could the team at Maui Studios in Ōtautahi Christchurch be where you live out your dreams? Egan assures candidates insane facial hair is not a prerequiste.