Australian judges honour New Zealander's multimedia work

A young Wellington multimedia designer has scooped three prizes at Asia Pacific Interact 97's prestigious ATOM awards in Melbourne - with works which failed to make the finals of last year's Interactive New Zealand awards. Che Tamahori, who works for the Wellington firm SFx Designers, won the Australian Teachers of Media awards with his works Line of Sight and Embodiment. Both entries were completed in his final year at Wanganui Polytechnic. Tamahori says he's "suprised how nice the Aussies were about all their awards going overseas."

A young Wellington multimedia designer has scooped three prizes at Asia Pacific Interact 97’s prestigious ATOM awards in Melbourne — with works which failed to make the finals of last year’s Interactive New Zealand awards.

Che Tamahori, who works for the Wellington firm SFx Designers, won the Australian Teachers of Media awards with his works Line of Sight (Best Use of Graphics in a Multimedia Product) and Embodiment (Best Multimedia Production by a Tertiary Student, Best Interface Design in a Multimedia Product). Both entries were completed in his final year at Wanganui Polytechnic.

The other major winner was the Peter Gabriel CD-Rom, Ceremony of Innocence, which won four awards, including the Gold ATOM award.

“Everybody’s been pretty good about it over here,” Tamahori said from Melbourne. “I was suprised how nice the Aussies were about all their awards going overseas.”

Tamahori, nephew of film director Lee Tamahori, submitted his work after seeing an entry form in the Australian cinematic magazine Metro, and says he was subsequently struck by the way “ATOM take their judging very seriously”. Although he won the TUANZ Internet Cook-Off in 1996, both Embodiment and Line of Sight had been unplaced in the INZ awards last year.

Both works make use of advanced QuickTime and Macromedia Director techniques, and SFx managing director Selwyn Feary says Tamahori’s combination of artistic and technical ability makes him a rare — and useful — employee.

Tamahori says he was “always into art at school — and then in 1982 my father bought me a ZX Spectrum and I became a part-time computer nerd. I’ve been interested in both the art and computer sides ever since. I think you need both to do interactive media — whether they’re by one person, or in an integrated team.”

Feary, who set up SFx after he left TVNZ’s Planet Go unit, has been working with Tamahori for several years, providing him with work while he completed his design. This year, the firm has worked on some major projects, including the Consumers’ Institute Web site and the New Zealand Post intranet and Web sites.

Tamahori says the fact that he has gained recognition for creative, experimental works is “really encouraging. I hope to do more work like that, but you’re struggling to find jobs like that in New Zealand. You’ve really got make your own brief if you want to explore that sort of stuff.

Samples of Che Tamahori’s work can be found at www.sfx.co.nz/tamahori/home/.

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