Creating Content with the Intent to Inspire Māori Youth

The Yoobee Colleges 2021 Indigenous Legends Scholarship winner, Hakopa Ririnui, is on a mission to inspire younger generations of Māori into the creative industries.

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The Yoobee Colleges 2021 Indigenous Legends Scholarship winner is on a mission to inspire younger generations of Māori into the creative industries.

A descendant of Ngāi te Rangi and Ngāti Ranginui iwi from Tauranga, 24-year-old Hakopa Ririnui says he is a passionate advocate for his whanau and people, and he wants to see more Māori youth moving into creative study.

Hakopa has a passion to express the korero spoken on the marae in a visual form through animation and digital art for the younger generations.

“In the past five years, I have been learning Te Reo alongside my parents. This study really helped me understand and become more connected to my culture and language. From this, I have become ambitious to create art and creative work that represents my culture and its stories.”

Creativity has always been in Hakopa’s veins. He grew up in a hardworking family mainly immersed in sports and rugby, and is the only child of six to have taken an interest in the creative field.

“I’ve always loved art and growing up I spent every free minute I had creating art – I just wasn’t sure where it could take me in terms of a career.”  


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Moving into full-time work straight out of high school Hakopa found he had less and less time to spend on his art.

“Year on year I felt like I was burying my talents in the ground and it didn’t feel right. With this scholarship, I can now take the leap of faith and turn my passion into a career.”

Hakopa submitted a Matariki inspired 2D design as part of his scholarship entry and Jo McCormick, Campus Team Leader at Yoobee Colleges Rotorua says Hakopa’s talent and passion was immediately clear.  

When I first met with Hakopa, it was hard not to be impressed with his art, but what impressed me, even more, was his personality and his passion towards his art and culture. His application was supported by a letter from his Kaumatua and his Matariki inspired submission was unanimously chosen by the scholarship panel.”

Hakopa is using the Indigenous Legends Scholarship to study the Diploma of Animation at Yoobee Colleges Rotorua.

“I have always loved creating digital art and characters from my imagination with many influences, but it would be amazing to learn how to put my 2D drawings into motion and I feel like Yoobee Colleges will be the best place to do this. When I applied for this scholarship I was very inspired when I saw artwork by Lee Tawhai on the Yoobee Colleges website – I have never seen this anywhere else.”

Yoobee Colleges introduced the Indigenous Legends Scholarship to support more Māori and Pasifika into a career in the creative industries – whether that be as a Graphic Designer, Animator, Game Developer or any of the wide range of roles that the industry offers.

The scholarship entitles the winner to a fully-paid scholarship and entrance into a programme offered by Yoobee Colleges – a full year of tertiary study starting in February 2021.