Ko Tararua ngā pae maunga
Ko Ōtaki te awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga te iwi
Ko Ngā Kapumanawawhiti te hapū
Ko Davis te whānau
Ko Ben tōku ingoa,
I ahu mai ai ki tētahi wāhanga o te taone nui, arā ko Tāmaki Makaurau, ko taua takiwā ko Te Raki Paewhenua. I kuraina e au ki te kura Tuarua o Oneroa kātahi ka haere ki Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau me te Whare Wānanga o Yoobee School of Design. I whai tohu au ki roto i te Ao Putaiao me te Hanga Niko/Whakanikoniko anō hoki. I whakatūria e au taku pakihi niko arā, Mana Design kia ruku hōhonu ai ki te ao whakarakei me te whakawaiwaiā o ngā mea katoa. Heoi anō, i mokemoke ai ahau mō āku āhuatanga Māori, nā whai atu i ērā momo huarahi i hoki ai au ki tōku Ao Māori, ā, ka whakauru au ki ngā akoranga Reo Māori ki te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa, Rōnakitanga, Aupikitanga tae noa ki te Pīnakitanga o te Reo Kairangi. Kātahi anō au ka whakapōtaetia te kaupapa whakamutunga, ko te Pīnakitanga.
Ko toku matainaina ko te whakawhanuitanga o ngā Toi Māori ki ngā kokona katoa o tēnei Ao Kikokiko.
My name is Ben Thomason, a proud Māori descendent of Ngāti Raukawa based in Ōtaki. I grew up on Auckland's North Shore where I attended the decile 10 School Long Bay College. After college I degrees in Science and Graphic Design from UoA and Yoobee School of Design. My passion remained in the Graphic Design side of things as I already had a background in Māori Art from my apprenticeship as a Tā Moko (Māori Tattoo) artist in my final year of college. After graduating I set myself as a freelance Graphic Designer under the Sole Trader Name, Mana Design. I worked tirelessly to broaden my skill set. My background in Māori Art saw a gapped filled in the design world and I've been lucky enough to work alongside some awesome companies such as Auckland Transport, MoE, Māori TV, TVNZ, NZ Police, Māori Party, Te Whānau o Waipareira, Whānau Ora, ANZ, Northern Mystics and the Warriors.
However, as I have progressed I've found myself wanting to solidify my skillset and cultural competency even further, thus for the last 3 years I've been enrolling and graduating all the full emersion Te Reo Māori programmes at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. I'm currently about to graduate the final course they have on offer at the highest academic level with that institute.
To conclude, my deepest want is to use all my skills and work ethic to see Māori Art done right and flourishing around the world so it too can be loved by all.