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Respect – Ambition – Success: The New Cool



So how do you go from printing t-shirts for your mates, to negotiating an international distribution network? From skateboarding to school, to producing a top-selling skate magazine? From after dark street-art, to large-scale corporate commissions? Or from wagging school to play spacies, to designing a prototype for Playstation?!

What does it take to transform your creative passions into business dollars?

Aotearoa’s new generation of street-smart entrepreneurs are the undisputed New Cool in business. They’re young, hip, totally ambitious and have leapt into the business world from our ski fields, skate parks, clubs, spacie parlours, uni’s, art schools and back streets.

The Dowse is proud to present The New Cool, an interactive multi-media exhibition celebrating young creative business.
The New Cool showcases the inspirational stories of 12 young entrepreneurial New Zealand companies including: Dawn Raid Entertainment; Disruptiv; First Floor Publishing; Huffer Clothing; Illicit Clothing; Inject Design; Insidious Fix; LOOP Aot(ear)oa Recordings; Metia Interactive; Misery; Sidhe Interactive and Sticky Pictures.

These business stories are all about big ideas and very small beginnings. They’ve experienced the hard years, the timely successes and the challenge of combining creativity with commerce. The New Cool believe in 'co-opitition' (supporting the creative youth culture they have grown from and continue to serve), the value of the ‘bro-job’ (working barter-like with and for your mates!), and are driven by the simple satisfaction of waking up each day and loving what they do.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to play a demo version of Sidhe Interactive’s Playstation games, listen to LOOP’s NZ music CDs, watch footage from Sticky Pictures TV series, and have a go at designing their own t-shirt just as Dawn Raid started out! Throughout the exhibition PC stations have been set up so that visitors can access The New Cool website ( HYPERLINK "" and information on how to take their own creative ideas and begin transforming them into business enterprises.

”The New Cool is an example of the important role The Dowse plays in bringing together,
and sharing the inspirational stories of creative New Zealanders. We are delighted to work in partnership with Westpac to present this exhibition, which is more 21st century fun fair than a traditional art museum experience. We hope that visitors will engage with, and be inspired by, the young companies profiled.” says Director of The Dowse, Tim Walker
Westpac's head of small business, David Cunningham says, "Cutting edge street savvy and creative passion is coupled with business acumen and individuality to create unique products for the world stage. It is this energy that will inspire visitors to The New Cool to make their dreams a reality, build the foundation for a sustainable business and be empowered to do it on their own terms. Westpac recognises this entrepreneurial spirit and the potential it holds for New Zealand’s future. ”The New Cool will be on display at The Dowse, Lower Hutt from 9 June to 30 August, 2005.

A series of free seminars will also run alongside the exhibition giving visitors the opportunity to meet the directors of some The New Cool companies and learn how to develop a positive entrepreneurial attitude.
Aotearoa Beats : Saturday, 2 July, 2pm
With Dawn Raid Entertainment, Disruptiv, Loop Aot(ear)oa Recordings, and Inject Design.

On the couch - mags, TV and videogames: Saturday, 9 July, 2pm
With First Floor Publishing, Sticky Pictures, Sidhe Interactive and Metia Interactive.

Clothing with attitude: Saturday, 16 July, 2pm
With the folk from Huffer, Illicit, Insidious Fix and Misery.

The 12 businesses profiled in The New Cool exhibition

Dawn Raid Entertainment

Dawn Raid Entertainment is Aotearoa's leading hip hop company - they also operate a screen printing business, design graphics and streetwear, and manage artists & events! Danny Leaosavaii and Andy Murnane met while studying at Manukau Technical Institute and decided to take the big leap into business together in 1997. Dawn Raid has since experienced massive growth and achieved international success.


Disruptiv is Aotearoa’s first ever business specialising in graffiti art services. It was the brainchild of two freelance professional graffiti artists, Elliot “Askew” O’Donnell of Auckland, and Jonny “4Higher” of Christchurch, who joined forces in 2001. Modelling Disruptiv on similar companies in Europe, together with Deirdre Dawson (who joined the crew as business director, while studying international business), they have transformed their back-street art into a successful commercial business. Disruptiv has grown rapidly from humble beginnings in mural painting and illustration, to operatingin all four elements of hip-hop (graffiti, DJing, MCing and breaking).

First Floor Publishing

While First Floor Publishing was established in 2003, the seed for the company was planted in 1997 when David Read, Caleb Smith and friends first launched a free black and white skateboarding magazine, called Manual. Now one of New Zealand’s leading skateboarding and snowboarding lifestyle magazines, Manual is published three times a year. Seeing a gap in the market, they also launched Spoke, a free mountain bikingmagazine and trialed Staple, a contemporary Kiwi culture magazine showcasing the many weird and wonderful aspects of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Huffer Clothing Research & Development

The foundations of the Huffer brand were ultimately formed through years of first-hand experience (and arduous research!) by two friends growing up on Aotearoa's skateparks,surburban streets, and ski fields. Huffer, now a leading outdoor street style clothing label, was founded in 1997 by Dan Buckley (a clothing and textiles graduate and skateboarder), and Steven Dunstan (a snow boarding personality with retail sales experience). Today Huffer is distributed throughout 40 outlets in Aotearoa, and increasingly in stores in Australia, Japan and Germany.

Illicit Streetwear

Illicit is a successful streetwear label that has continuously diversified it’s range and reinvented itself over its life time. Situated on Auckland's infamous K' Road their most recent expansion has been Illicit H.Q., a retail complex encompassing Illicit Clothing, a tattooing and piercing studio, the Misery Boutique, and a gallery for art with an edge - the Cross Street Orphanage Gallery.

Inject Design

Creative director Harry A’Court established Inject Design in 2002. Having graduated from design school, he quickly recognised a prohibitive gap in the market for young designers; to get a job you need experience and in order to gain experience you really needed a job! Inject Design was set up to provide an arena where young designers are allowed creative expression, within a supportive environment without being typecast into inferior roles by big design companies.
pictured: Harry A’Court, Michelle Healey, Dallan Warnes, Ara A’Court

Insidious Fix

Designers Kylee Davis and Jason Crawford launched Insidious FIX in 1995, having won the esteemed Benson and Hedges Fashion Awards Supreme Award. 10 years on, FIX is a much-loved brand, renowned for designing progressive, unique and innovative knit-wear which is proudly 100% New Zealand made. FIX clothing aims to reflect the culture and lifestyle of Aotearoa in their clothing - and take it to the rest of the world!

LOOP Aot(ear)oa Recordings

LOOP Recordings Aot(ear)oa was formed in mid-2001, as an outlet for the fresh urban sounds of Aotearoa New Zealand. LOOP began life as a magazine with a CD of NZ music and culture clips attached. The CD proved so popular that the Wellington-based independent record label was formed, and has now released over 30 albums and has distribution in British, European, American and Australian markets! LOOP has also released a number of compilations sampling the best of Aotearoa's audio culture, including unsigned artists, independent acts and music from New Zealand's best underground labels.

Metia Interactive

As a teenager, Maru Nihoniho spent her formative years hanging out in spacie parlours playing video games. Little did she realise that years later, having completed a Diploma in Multimedia, she would transform her passion for gaming into a business opportunity, launching Metia Interactive in 2003. Metia now design and create game art assets, interactive games for CD-Rom and creative solutions for 3D art and animation. Maru is currently working on The Cube game for the PlayStation Portable and The Guardian game for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.


Tanya Thompson began her career as a street artist. Her dark characters earned her the nickname Misery. She began designing Misery t-shirts for Illicit in 2001, and in 2002 established Misery Ltd as an independent label. In 2004 she opened her own Misery Boutique next door to ILLICIT HQ on Auckland's K ' Road, selling Misery clothing, accessories, art, cosmetics,jewellery and toys. Misery is also a sought after exhibiting artist - she regularly exhibits at Disruptiv’s Gallery in Auckland, and increasingly in Los Angeles.

Sidhe Interactive

In 1997 Mario Wynands, Tyrone McAuley and Stuart Middleton had completed uni and were working in the 'real world'. By night however, they were designing their own video games that would later form the basis of Sidhe Interactive, New Zealand's leading game development studio. After Sidhe's breakthrough in 1999 with games giant Sony, their part-time passion, became a 'real job'! The brains behind the record breaking Stacey Jones Rugby League game title, Sidhe brings together a close-knit team of talented and highly educated specialists with world-class creative and software development skills.

Sticky Pictures

After working as a successful director and producer in the UK, Mark Albiston and his partner, lawyer Amy Bardsley returned to Wellington in 2000. Wanting to make innovative television, they set up Sticky Pictures Ltd, and pitched The Living Room, a series celebrating home-grown creative culture, to NZ On Air and TV3. The Living Room has won numerous awards and is now into its third series, and Sticky Pictures’ TV programmes have been broadcast free to air in New Zealand and in more than 60 other countries around the world!


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