May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Whanau mourn the loss of one of the greatest Maori graphic designers of our time

2 min read

As word filters through whanau around the world share tears of sadness at the loss of one of the most accomplished Maori graphic designer and artist’s of our time.

Warren Pohatu (Ngai Tamanuhiri, Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahugunu, Rongowhakaata,Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki)originally from the East Coast lived in West Auckland and passed only a few hours ago. The following message was shared on his public page:

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 7.57.33 PM

For over 20 years Matua Warren has researched the stories, legends and genealogy of his ancestors and used this research as inspiration to create his rich, vibrant graphic works of art.

His skills and capacity were inspirational to those who grew up with his stories, including Traditional Maori Legends, Taniwharau and Animal Maori Myths. More recently he began working in social networking spaces and his ability to capture a complex whakaaro with his illustrations was profound.

Tamariki around the country probably know his work best as most classes spend time reading his beautiful stories and and enjoy replicating his unique graphic style.


Matua Warren began his journey into graphic design atWellington Polytechnic School of Design in the early 1980s and completed a three-year degree and recently told the Western Leader that his first job was hanging pictures and designing exhibition signs at the Wellington Art Gallery. He moved to Kawerau to start his family working at the mill. But it wasn’t long before a advert in the local paper looking for a Graphic Designer caught his eye.

Initially he was hesitant about the place of computers in design (remember this was 1984!) but overtime he trained himself to do everything he could using Photoshop to draw directly onto the computer from that moment there was no stopping him.

Past employers include Saatchi and Saatchi, Tip Top, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s.

Over time, Warren began to wonder where his talent came from, after researching his whakapapa her came to realise it was in the blood, with no less than 8 Master Carvers over only a few generations.

More recently his work began to come full circle with a renewed focus on his culture and his history. We thank Matua Warren for sharing his gift with the world, a great void is left in your wake matua.

Kua hinga te totara i Te Waonui a Tane,a t?tara has fallen in the great forest of T?ne.



3 thoughts on “Whanau mourn the loss of one of the greatest Maori graphic designers of our time

  1. A creative genius who gave freely of his talents and inspired many of us to explore the way we think – Visually.
    These people come but once in a life time.

  2. Margaret to deactivate a page go into security settings and at bottom of page is a deactivate this page link.

  3. I feel for your loss, and was wondering how you can deactivate his account on facebook.. I recently tried to deactivate one, due to a sudden death, but was not able to? Can you please tell me how to do this, as this a/c on facebook is still current, and my friend has passed away over twelve months ago.? thank you for your time..

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