Our Whānau

Sam Witters
Sam creates production businesses that succeed. She has worked for Viacom, CBS, NBC Universal, Lionsgate Studios, Tribeca Enterprises, and Aardman Animations. Sam builds revenue pathways through licensing, production and subscription models for Fortune 500 entertainment companies and their subsidiary tech, content and creative media divisions. She holds various prestigious directorships.
Barry Soutar
Barry has a 30 plus year career in tech locally and internationally. He grew a successful 40-person software and tech company with partners over 15 years in Wellington in the location intelligence sector(Critchlow) exiting 2007. He joined NZ Trade and Enterprise as their first Māori manager executing a new strategy to boost Māori companies globally through business development and investment. He continues to provide leadership in Māori and Iwi nationally for creative and technology.
Dan Witters
Dan Witters has a Law Degree, a Master’s Degree with First Class Honors in English Literature and a BA in Classical Literature and European Languages. He has worked in France, the UK and the US as a Legal and Business Advisor to a number of media companies. He has been a consultant and editor on international film scripts such as Legacy of China. He has extensive knowledge of international media contracts relating to film, television and digital rights and production. He oversees all TORO contracts and rights negotiations.
Cherise Mersham
Cherise Mersham is originally from beautiful South Africa. Along with her family, she moved to Aotearoa and made her home here in Te Tairāwhiti. She brings her experience in designing & beautifying interiors, spaces, and environments to the office space. As Operations Manager for TORO Studios, Cherise keeps everyone and everything organised so that the team can concentrate on doing their best work.
Kui Wano
Kui has corporate experience in health HR and television production. She led the production management function in key Toro projects for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture and Heritage. She brings a valuable understanding of Mātauranga Māori to support many of our latest projects. Kui has a joint degree in media and Māori, is fluent in Te Reo and an accomplished kapa haka performer (by way of Te Manu Huia, Tāmaki).
Raukura Riwaka
Head of Illustration/App Development
Raukura has management experience and a multi-skilled background across the mining, construction and recruitment industries in Australia. His passion has always been in design and the creative sector. He has led Toro’s exciting projects for marae/hapū revitalisation through digital story-telling. He brings a strong work ethic and leads by example for the teams he leads. Raukura holds a degree in creative design gained in Australia.
Melka Oakley
project manager
Melka has a diverse background in a range of senior roles in IT and education, here and overseas. On return to New Zealand, Melka is now able to achieve her cultural obligations and passion around supporting the revitalisation of Māoritanga.
Huia Edmonds
digital illustrator
A graduate of Toihoukura School of Contemporary Māori Arts, Huia specialised in graphite drawings on paper (Fabriana) and was a recipient of the Jack Richards Scholarship and the Ruanuku Award. Huia brings a richness and depth from his Māori upbringing, complementing his technical expertise, creating exemplary art.