Maru Nihoniho is a game developer and Founder and CEO of award-winning company Metia Interactive. The company produces and designs games and multimedia applications for entertainment and education. Maru is one of the few female developers in the country and has won a number of awards for her work in gaming and mental health.
After dropping out of school at the age of 15, working in various hospitality roles and eventually following her dream of becoming a game developer, Maru Nihoniho is now at the helm of game development company Metia Interactive and is working on various different projects in the gaming space.
Her latest project, Takaro, focuses on bringing attention to mental health and teaching coding to New Zealand youth. It is also the basis of her Tech Futures Lab Master’s project – a programme which she says has helped to inform, develop and future proof this project.
“When I found this, I thought, what an opportunity.”
Maru joined the February 2017 cohort of the Tech Futures Lab Master’s programme after deciding she wanted to take her business to the next level and formalise her already rich career experience. When considering different programmes, she found traditional education to be too removed from her business, especially as she wanted to bring on a real-world project she had already established. However, after being introduced to the Tech Futures Lab programme she found it fit the bill.
Maru says, “Before deciding to do this Master’s I was hesitant due to the busy demands of running a business. However, the closer I looked into the Master’s I realised I could work and study at the same time. I wanted to be sure it was the right thing before I took the leap. When I found out about this, I thought, what an opportunity,” she says.
“The Master’s has really helped me with future proofing.”
Maru says the programme was ‘a great opportunity’ to bring a research component into her gaming project Takaro.
She says, “The deep thinking and research into the development of Takaro has made it a well thought out and designed project which is not only great for my Master’s but for my business as well. I’ve been able to look at my project from a different angle – from the outside in. Having a different view on my own project has helped me to clarify what I’m doing and made me focus on what will benefit the project overall.”
It has also helped her to look at the bigger picture, she says. “In the gaming industry, we get used to disruption, we’re always being disrupted in one form or another. The Master’s has really helped me with future-proofing. It’s helped me in identifying the right products or services, companies, and the direction of things in general. I make games but I’m trying to take it to the next level. I want to develop something more long term and will look to the future to do this.”
Maru says, “This course is all about disruptive technology, but it’s also about coming in and disrupting yourself, changing the way you think, being flexible and adaptable.”
Maru Nihoniho is part of the February 2017 cohort of the Master of Applied Practice – Technological Futures. To find out more click here or get in touch to come in and see us in person – coffee or wine on us!