Maru Nihoniho

Founder and Managing Director ∙ Metia Interactive

Maru Nihoniho — Semi Permanent Aotearoa 2023
Maru Nihoniho — Semi Permanent Aotearoa 2023

Maru Nihoniho is the founder of Metia Interactive, where she leads a team of developers, artists and programmers.

In addition to designing and developing her own games, Maru also produces third-party games, both commercial and non-commercial titles, across multiple platforms, including PlayStation, Apple iOS, PC, Mac, and other technologies such as virtual reality. 
As a game designer and producer, Maru’s focus is on Indigenous storytelling through culture-based games that provide a powerful outlet for engagement and learning. She has published several Māori games, including Sparx which teaches rangatahi how to manage depression; Māori Pa Wars, a strategic tower defence game; Takaro to teach rangatahi about coding concepts; and Guardian Maia, interactive fiction that follows the journey of a Māori woman through a dystopian New Zealand. Her goal is to deliver games that are meaningful, featuring strong cultural themes with unique stories to tell in an authentic Indigenous voice. Maru was reconised as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit on in 2016 for services to gaming and mental health.
In 2017, she was awarded the MCVPacific Women in Games - The Game Changers Award for Innovator of the Year, presented by Microsoft Xbox and the Māori Entrepreneurial Leader Award from the University of Auckland Business Leaders Awards. She was named in the Forbes inaugural Top 50 Women in Technology list in 2018. In 2019, she was awarded the Te Maunga Kai Kapua (Tuakana) Industry Pillar Pāwhiri award and most recently was honoured with the Te Hapori Matihiko Innovator Tōtara Award, recognising excellence in Māori digital and tech innovation.