Hehu and the Taniwha


After graduating with my Master’s Degree in Media Design, I decided to pursue a passion project in Virtual Reality (VR). I based this project on Maori mythology because as a kid from New Zealand, you always hear stories about the Taniwha. With VR currently being the most immersive platform for storytelling, I set out on a mission to create an experience that will bring this mythical creature to life.​​


Being the sole creator on this project required me to play many different roles.


Environmental creator/designer/ animator.

Using a combination of Maya, Z brush, Photoshop and Unreal Engine 4s landscape editor tool, I was able to create various environments (interior and exterior), character models and general 3D assets. The animation was created through Maya. Blendshapes were used for lip syncing and facial expressions


Scripting via Blueprints

All the functionality including motion controller interactions, story sequences, character movement, narrative decision making and much more were all scripting using Blueprints in Unreal Engine 4.


Storyline scripts

Creating the scripts for the story and the three different endings. Researching about Maori mythology.



Finding free sources for sound effects, recording the voice actors and finally placing into Unreal Engine 4.


Preparing for store submission

Optimisation for performance and creating the image assets for store submission.


These were the main five roles. User testing followed after the build was in a beta state. This entire process took me 8 and a half months.

Here is a trailer detailing the unique features of the VR application.

In summary:

The story is based off Maori mythology.

The ability to make decisions which influences the story.

Interact with Maori artifacts.

The application made the front store page by being featured in the Top Free list on the Oculus store.

See image below.

Unique features