Our People

Meet the people who make Toi Āria tick

Our People

Meet the people who
make Toi Āria tick

Our team draws on an eclectic range of skills and experience to bring to life its commitment to fostering positive social change through design. The skills and expertise of our team members include design, customer experience, public service, academia, business, science and art.

We strive for outcomes that improve the quality of public policies and services that positively affect the lives of people in a way that is meaningful to them. The combined inquisitive spirit of our team members enables us to listen with openness to those people and focus on the needs and behaviours that are relevant to influencing change.

Throughout our work, we cultivate transformative engagement by removing hierarchies, encouraging generosity of spirit and nurturing a balance between vulnerability and expertise across all participants.

OurPeople_AnnaBrown_01.jpg
OurPeople_AnnaBrown_01.jpg

Anna Brown

Anna is the Founder and Director of Toi Āria. She believes that design has a role to play in delivering public good. Her expertise is in participatory design and she is interested in how conversations and community engagement can drive social change. Anna is Professor at Massey where she supervises postgraduate design students and is chair of Massey University Press. Before joining Massey, Anna ran a graphic design business and still likes to keep her hand in with her favourite discipline, book design.

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OurPeople_AndrewTobin_01.jpg

Andrew Tobin

Andrew is a founding Toi Āria Associate. With 20 years’ experience in helping organisations to become more authentically led by their end-users, he’s excited by the focus of Toi Āria on public good, and by the freedom to innovate that our unique business model makes possible. Andrew is a public engagement expert with a special interest in designing ways of having meaningful conversations with New Zealand people that result in policy and services being more relevant to them. He has a broad experience design track record in private, public and NGO organisations.

OurPeople_TimParkin_01.jpg
OurPeople_TimParkin_01.jpg

Tim Parkin

Tim is an Associate of Toi Āria. He comes from a design background with a focus on developing community engagement tools to help create positive social change. These include initiatives for increasing youth involvement in the political process; engaging citizens in the governance of social services; and advancing concepts of inclusive design. Tim is an Associate Professor at Massey University, where he leads the Visual Communication Design programme.

Jean Donaldson
Jean Donaldson

Jean Donaldson

Jean graduated with a BDes (Hons) in 2021, from Ngā Pae Māhutonga, the School of Design at the College of Creative Arts. Wellington born and bred, Jean brings her design and illustration skills to the team. She's a native bird fanatic with a passion for creating a better future for Aotearoa.

Morgan Dallas
Morgan Dallas

Morgan Dallas

Morgan graduated BDes (Hons) majoring in visual communication, in 2021, from Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts, based at Massey University’s Wellington campus. She is is strongly committed to using design to create a kinder world and is drawn toward human-centered, empathetic design. In addition to her work with Toi Āria, Morgan works part time at Optimal Workshop, a UX research platform, where her work focuses on illustration, brand design, and user centered UX.

Hannah Smith.jpg
Hannah Smith.jpg

Hannah Smith

Hannah is an Associate with Toi Āria. She is a skilled facilitator and experience designer with a background in social enterprise and innovation. As comfortable in the classroom as the boardroom, she designs with genuine connection and engagement in mind — always seeking to elevate marginalised and quieter voices. Hannah has a particular interest in the intersection between place and mental well-being. She is a Night Guide at Zealandia and on the leadership rōpū of Adventure Therapy Aotearoa

OurPeople_SimonMark_01.jpg
OurPeople_SimonMark_01.jpg

Simon Mark

Simon worked for Toi Āria as a researcher and writer until his retirement at the end of 2021. In early 2022 he was made an Honorary Research Fellow of Toi Rauwhārangi, the College of Creative ArtsHe believes that a good society can only be judged on the wellbeing of all its citizens, and on its commitment to equity and justice. His career encompassed roles in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas, including for Volunteer Service Abroad in Vanuatu, MFAT in London and ten years with Massey University. His thesis on cultural diplomacy is available here. He is now a practising artist.

Our Collaborators

Emma Blomkamp
Dr Emma Blomkamp is a facilitator, researcher and strategic designer, best known for her work in co-design for behaviour and systems change. Her research and practice focuses on creative and participatory approaches to systemic design, especially through policies and services that aim to improve public health, access to justice and community wellbeing.
eb@emmablomkamp.com
www.emmablomkamp.com

Thomas Le Bas
Thomas completed his Bachelor and Masters in Design from Massey University, Wellington. He is a designer who likes to work with people and technology to help make things that have a positive impact on the world, which is precisely why he found himself at home with the Toi Āria family. Currently, he works as a Design Manager and Digital Product Designer for Lightspeed.
me@thomaslebas.com
www.thomaslebas.com

Matt Law
Matt completed his Bachelor of Design from Toi Rauwhārangi, Massey University. He worked as a graduate designer at Toi Āria for two years before heading off to Xero!
mattthewlaw.com

Postgraduate Students

Kirsten Browne (current)
Design for urban indigeneity: How can a spatial design process combine whakapapa (our collective truth) and environmental imperatives to fulfil the potential of urban Whakaoriori Masterton?

Emma Forde McNaughton, MDes (2021)
Public Matters: exploring the potential of design to facilitate meaningful political engagement for young voters in Aotearoa through a more accessible legislative submissions process.

Elizabeth Goodwin, MDes (2021)
“I don't see anyone else like me”: creating an online community with parents of disabled children during COVID-19.Elizabeth

Sam Rye, MDes (2018)
Kanopi: a systemic and strategic design project exploring how to improve the environmental and social outcomes of biodiversity conservation projects.