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Celebrating Extraordinary New Zealand Women in Games

We all know the gaming scene in Aotearoa is growing at the speed of light, but do we know the people behind it?
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We all know the gaming scene in Aotearoa is growing at the speed of light, but do we know the people behind it? MOTAT has just opened a new exhibition called Code Breakers: Women in Games and we can’t wait to explore the stories from strong wāhine that are helping grow New Zealand’s very own gaming empire. Check out some of the incredible women carving out their own space and click through to hear more of their stories in their interview videos — after all, gaming is a digital playground.

Don’t forget to come to visit Code Breakers: Women in Games at MOTAT Great North Road until 26 March 2022. There are even more stories to discover. The exhibition is included with your general admission ticket.

Mia Tawhiao-Lomas

Mia (Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Hikairo) is currently studying game art at Media Design School in Tāmaki Makaurau. She started having a passion for creative tech at an early age thanks to her parents working in the arts. With a fashion designer for a Mum and a film director for a Dad, she was able to grow and be inspired by their creativity.

Mia’s career goals are to work on projects that produce content based on or that uplifts te ao Māori and indigenous cultures.

Dhayana Sena – a.k.a Miss Deus Geek

Dhayana is a well-known Xbox gamer and influencer who has experience working in PR, marketing, and you guessed it, streaming content. She is the mastermind behind two great initiatives including Attack on Geek — a hub for education, info, and for fans to connect with like-minded people, as well as Women of Xbox — an unofficial community supporting and empowering women from all around the world who game on Xbox.

Lena Yaroshenko

Co-founder at Lighstromo Studios, Lena’s business focuses on the creation of educational and promotional games. During the day, Lena works as a 3D rigging artist at Grinding Gear Games in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She is skilled in both 2D and 3D art and has an epic portfolio of mahi.

Discover the inspiring stories behind Lena's journey.

Lorien Gugich

Hailing from Napier and now living in Dunedin, Lorien began streaming on Twitch in 2015 and that’s where she found her home in the video game industry. She runs her channel, LoriiPops with 89k followers and ranking in the top 6 of Aotearoa streamers.

Having run campaigns with XBOX, Play Stations, McDonalds, Twitch, and Oppo, Lorien is no stranger to putting herself out there. In more recent years she added game development into her day-to-day. This year she founded and launched Chromatic Pie, a game studio with one thing in mind – support GSRM (gender, sexual, and romantic minorities), LGBTQIA+, people of colour, and women in games.

Nicola Treadwell

Nicola works as a games writer for the ARPG (action role-playing game) Path of Exile made by her and her team at Grinding Gear Games. She has been into gaming and writing fantasy-style stories since a young age and now she is working in a role that fuses her two passions.

Nicola loves the flexibility and creativity that her job allows her to have. She has a great work-life balance and enjoys painting and making electronic music in her spare time.

Tori Kuizinas

Tori loves how easy it is to see real people’s real interactions with games. As a game designer/developer she loves the connection between the gaming industry and social media as it means she can connect with players in a way you couldn’t even a few years ago.

"In terms of passion, I love creating something and then watching someone else explore or interact with that creation. The gaming industry is a great outlet for this.”

Hear about Tori's advice for young women pursuing a career in games.

Story by Makayla Wallace-Tidd, Communications Coordinator, MOTAT

Videos produced by Siqi Dong, Digital Content Producer, MOTAT

Wallace-Tidd, Makayla. 2022. Celebrating Extraordinary New Zealand Women in Games. The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). First published: 1 December 2022. URL: https://www.motat.nz/collections-and-stories/stories/nz-women-in-games