Culture, heritage major focus now
Warren Pohatu, 52, lives in Glen Eden with son Manaia. He talks with reporter Monica Tischler about his work as a graphic designer.
How did you get into graphic design?
During school, my teachers showed me what it was all about.
I then studied at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design in the early 1980s and completed a three-year degree.
Where has it taken you?
My first job was hanging pictures and designing exhibition signs at the Wellington Art Gallery.
It was a good foot in the door.
When my partner became pregnant I moved to Kawerau.
After six months of working as a labourer in the local paper mill, an advert for a graphic designer popped up.
Using a computer, I had to create training manuals by illustrating equipment like tree cutters, valves, trucks and then scan them in to the computer.
That was in 1984 and quite frankly I didn't think computers had a place in design.
I was trained to do everything with pens, paper and a ruler but over time I learned how to draw directly on the computer using Photoshop.
I've worked for Saatchi and Saatchi on a Tip Top campaign and Coca-Cola and McDonald's as well.
I've designed a couple of Happy Meal boxes.
Do you come from a creative family?
When I was 20 I was interested to know where my talent came from.
There are so many people to credit. I spent 30 years researching my genealogy and there are about eight master carvers over a few generations.
What makes a good graphic designer?
As a designer you have to handle a rejection rate of 75 per cent.
You'll pitch four ideas and three will get scrapped.
You don't have to be a good drawer, you just have to be full of good ideas.
What's the best thing about the job?
Being able to touch the minds and hearts of people - especially through my recent work of writing and illustrating books and calendars.
And the worst?
Deadlines and budgets. I was always stressed and under pressure.
Do you get to travel?
I did some work with Tahiti Tourism and I went there a couple of times a year to research and take photos.
Graphic design has heaps of opportunities because the programmes are the same anywhere in the world.
What does the future hold?
My work's done a full circle where it's now about my culture and heritage.
I'm so passionate about my genealogy and I want to share that with my family.
I want to continue writing and illustrating books and calendars as well as doing a bit more freelance work where I can pick and choose what I do.
Visit Facebook.com and search "MaoriBoy Productions" to view Warren's work.