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Kiwi production house wins at Innovation Awards

20 Oct 14

Leading production house for experiential digital books KIWA has won the Innovation in Media, Music & Entertainment category at the 2014 New Zealand Innovation Awards.

Convened by the New Zealand Innovation Council, the Awards recognise top innovators and business ventures across 16 categories.

KIWA's experiential books are kinaesthetic and tactile.

The evaluators noted KIWA’s commitment to innovation as a platform, not a just a product. This strategy is evident in work with clients such as the Ministry of Education, Penguin and Sesame Workshop creating innovative digital formats that contribute to learning.

It has also led to the creation and commercialisation of products such as KIWA SLAM, where participants around the world tell their own stories from their own culture in their own language.

Steven Renata, KIWA’s global business development director, acknowledged on receiving the award the importance of New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem to emerging businesses.

“Success breeds success and the Innovator Awards play an important role in profiling and sharing the experiences of companies winning in global markets. Recognition in the awards is also matched by our progress commercially in New Zealand and overseas”.

Steven Renata, former co-founder and CEO of Les Mills West Coast (USA) is one of two senior appointments made to support KIWA’s growth plans among education customers, content owners and trade publishers internationally.

Nikora Wharerau, a highly experienced Māori language teacher and educator also joins KIWA as Māori Business Development Advisor.

Founded in 2003, the company was initially established as a post-production software company. Its first software product ,Voice-Q, is a tool designed to automatically dub foreign-language dialogue in television and film production. Voice-Q is now used in studios worldwide, including at Disney and 20th Century Fox.

In October, KIWA released its second graphic novella from the Ngā Atua Māori series called Te Wehenga o Ranginui Rāua ko Papatūānuku. It is available on iTunes and Google Play.