Paku - Dr Johnson Witehira and James Prier

Paku is a New Zealand design studio dedicated to creating products uniquely of Aotearoa. They do this by combining mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) with the latest technologies to reimagine the objects around us in a bicultural way.

Their kaupapa is of inclusivity and pride in Māori culture and language as tangata whenua and tangata tiriti, which they hope to make more accessible to everyone.

Paku was started by long-time friends Dr Johnson Witehira and James Prier.

DR JOHNSON WITEHIRA - Māori Design Specialist

Johnson (Ngāti Hinekura, Ngāi-tū-te-auru) is a leading indigenous designer and consultant. His practice focuses on how customary Māori knowledge and ways of thinking can be applied in contemporary settings. As a designer, Witehira has worked with Māori tribal groups, community organizations and Government agencies to instigate design solutions that effect positive change in people, practice and place. 

JAMES PRIER - Design Engineer

James (Ngāti Pākehā) is one of Aotearoa's leading product design engineers. He has designed products in many industries, including healthcare, agriculture and consumer goods. His design is driven by user-centred research and a focus on sustainability. Most recently the Lead Design Engineer at the iconic New Zealand design studio Formway, James has now packed in the day job with Paku now his main focus .

Their products are developed and produced in Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) and Manawatū for all of Aotearoa to experience. They are all about connecting our customary practices to our contemporary world.