2024 Hot New Things: TeWai Fong-yip

6 months ago by

Each summer DA profiles a selection of the top design graduates coming out of our tertiary institutions. We welcome these talented emerging professionals to our industry, learn about their passions, final projects, developing creative confidence and ambitions for the future.

Today we speak with Te Wai Fong-yip, who recently graduated from the Visual Communication programme at Ara. You can find out more about Aotearoa NZ creative study options by visiting our design schools page.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Tena koutou katoa, Ko Te Wai ahau.

(Hello to you all, I am Te Wai.)

I am an Illustrator, 3D artist and Graphic designer. I have always had an affinity for art and illustration since I was young. I Love all things creative, I love working on projects that are inspiring and leave a lasting impression. I have been fortunate enough to explore different sides of art and design. Coming from a Film, Animation and 3D background now with graphic design I am able to combine these skills and really hone into different aspects of my creative ability. I look forward to utilising the skills I have learned and putting them into action.

What did your graduating project focus on? 

I created a book delving into early Maori history, with an emphasis on my Iwi Ngapuhi. I am very proud of my Ngapuhi heritage. As a child growing up I heard many stories, myths and legends about our culture and from this I developed a genuine desire. So I saw this as an opportunity to put together a book to express this passion of mine and so that I can share this with others.

Why did you choose to study at Ara?

I was originally studying graphic design at Yoobee colleges, but upon my final year there I only had a level 6 diploma. My tutor at the time suggested I complete my final year at Ara to further refine my skills as Ara has a huge reputation for successful graduates and some of the people I had met while studying recommended that I go to Ara and get my bachelor’s degree.

What did you enjoy most about your course, or what do you feel you can take away now that you’ve completed it?

I really enjoyed the project briefs because it allowed us to express our individuality and showcase our skills. I also enjoyed the huge emphasis on Maori design and the importance of taking into consideration the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori culture as a whole. From this I have developed a real confidence in my ability to go forward into the industry.

Were there any exciting or unexpected discoveries to come out of your studies?

There were some challenges along the way but this inspired me to explore different avenues of my creative ability, starting off with film, and 3d animation going into graphic design. This has now allowed me to combine my skill set.

What was your biggest challenge while studying and how did you overcome it?

Putting all my skills into practice so that I can be successful in the industry would be a huge challenge as well as having the confidence to put myself out there knowing that this is a very competitive industry.

Was there someone (or something) that inspired you to pick Graphic design as a career path?

I always had a passion for art, I love drawing and so I really wanted to make this into a career.

Which piece in your portfolio are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of my graduation project, because it’s very personal to me and it is who I am.

What’s next for you?

Taking it one step at a time. The next step is to refine and develop all the skills I have learnt. This can only happen through working in the environment with other well established designers. Experience is a great teacher.

How can people get in touch or see more of your work? 

I would love to hear from you, I can be contacted via email – tewaimoana07@gmail.com You can also see more of my work on my behance https://www.behance.net/tewaimoana.

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