Ray Ruawhare began his screen career in the 1970s, after joining the graphics department at state television. After 13 years with the graphics team, he left TVNZ in 1987. Ruawhare went on to lead or co-lead a number of animation and visual effects companies, including Electric Pencil, Go Post Production and Cobalt vfx.
At Electric Pencil, Ruawhare helped shepherd the creation of a classic AMP ad featuring umbrellas floating over blue skies, and others featuring talking goldfish Eric, who was used in promotions and graphics for organisation NZ On Air.
In the 1990s Ruawhare set up TVNZ-owned post-production house Go Post Production, and interactive offshoot Planet Go. In 1997 he launched a special effects operation for Australian company Cutting Edge, where he produced a number of award-winning commercials.
By 2000 Ruawhare was back in New Zealand, producing the visual effects for TV's Dark Knight (not to be confused with the trilogy of movies featuring Batman). Shot and post-produced downunder — and also known as Fantasy Quest — the series sees Ivanhoe facing off against dragons and sundry creatures.
Ruawhare then became a visual effects producer at post-production and VFX company Oktobor, where he secured work for the company on previsualisation and selected sequences for blockbuster The Fellowship of the Ring.
In 2000 Ruawhare launched his own company Cobalt vfx. There he oversaw a number of animated projects, often in collaboration with other companies — including producing an award-winning sexual health campaign for the Ministry of Health, animated by Dylan Coburn. Combining 2D and 3D animation, the No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba ad won best commercial in its category at the 2005 Apollo Awards in Singapore.
In the same period, Ruawhare and production manager Dawn Aronie came up with the idea of a documentary about animation in New Zealand. Ruawhare writes about capturing the history and characters of Aotearoa's animation scene in this backgrounder on the doco, From Len Lye to Gollum.
After Cobalt was sold to company Sauce Ltd in April 2008, Ruawhare joined Sauce FX Studios. Sauce FX 's work on Jason Stutter movie Predicament was awarded Best Visual Effects in a Feature Film at the 2011 Aotearoa Film and Television Awards. The company also created special effects for mini-series disaster tale Ice.
Earlier (in 2005) Ruawhare co-founded animation, effects and games conference AnimfxNZ, and the trust that ran it. He also helped establish the Kiwi chapter of the Visual Effects Society.
NZPA writer, 'No rubba, no hubba hubba ad wins global award' - The NZ Herald, 21 June 2005
AnimfxNZ website. Accessed 21 February 2017