Associate Professor Jason O'Hara staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (04) 801 5799

Associate Professor Jason O'Hara

Associate Professor

School of Design

Jason’s practice-lead research explores digital storytelling, photography and experience design. The fact that he has been variously described as a designer, artist, scenographer, photographer and documentary maker is a testament to his broad skill-set in creating visual narratives that persuade, educate and entertain. 

 His extensive industry experience and an enthusiasm for connecting people with heritage, science and the environment has taken him around the globe including the remote Kermadec region and Antarctica.  


Prizes and Awards

  • Make/Use won the Open Source use in the Arts at the New Zealand Open Source Awards 2016. See - New Zealand Open Source Awards (2016)
  • Make/Use won a Bronze Best Design Award in the Exhibition & Temporary Structures category at the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Awards 2016. See - Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) (2016)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My primary field of practice-led design research employs digital media, photography, video and exhibition design to create evocative, aesthetically driven, user centric experiences and artwork. 

Key thematics of exploration include environmental and scientific advocacy, anthropology, whakapapa, and intentional synesthesia. My work often involves redefining the existing relationship between the audience and subject to educate or change option.


Design – for Commerce, Community and Culture

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Electronic Media Art (190203): Film, Television and Digital Media (190200): Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting) (190502): Interactive Media (190205): Lens-based Practice (190503): Studies In Creative Arts And Writing (190000): Visual Arts and Crafts (190500)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 1

Research Outputs


Preston, J., & O'Hara, W. (2018). On duration. Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts. 23(4-5), 191-191 Retrieved from
[Journal article]Authored by: O'Hara, W., Preston, J.


Golder, B., & O'Brien, G. (Eds.) (2011). Kermadec - Nine artists explore the South Pacific. : PEW Environmental Group and Tauranga Art Gallery
[Edited Book]Authored by: O'Hara, W.

Creative Work

O'Hara, W., Maxwell, W., & Prescott, S. (2021). Where Memories Sleep 2: Pātaka +. Pātaka Art + Museum, Porirua
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W., Prescott, S.
O'Hara, WJ., Maxwell, W., & Studio Pacific Architecture, . (2021). National Erebus Memorial: Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song. Auckland’s Dove-Myer Robinson Park
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, W., & Maxwell, W. (2019). Where Memories Sleep: FullDome Installation. SpacePlace, Carter Observatory, Wellington
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, W. (2019) Invisible Decent. [Exhibition] Single channel digital video. 06:18 Cranbrook Academy of Arts, Detroit Broadway Gallery, Detroit, USA 22/6/2019 - 21/7/2019
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, W. (2019) The isle is full of noises. [Exhibition] Photographic montage. Giclée print on rag. 1000 x 373 mm Pataka Art + Museum, 11/08/2019 - 25/11/2019
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, W. (2017) Melt. [Exhibition] Photographic Print Wellington, New Zealand, College of Creative Arts, Massey University 04 Jul 2017 - 07 Jul 2017
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, W. (2017) Thin Green Line. [Exhibition] Photographic Print Wellington, New Zealand, College of Creative Arts, Massey University 04 Jul 2017 - 07 Jul 2017
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, J. (2017). LX. Antarctica New Zealand Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand: Antarctica New Zealand
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2016). Antarcticans. Social Media: Antarctica New Zealand
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2016). Trinity Roots promotional photography. Various media (e.g. Trinity Roots (T/A Riwa Ltd)
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ.(2016). Calypso. [Large-scale, site-specific, single channel video installation]. Wellington, New Zealand: Pataka Gallery - hosted the Academy Galleries, 9 Apr 2016 - 20 Apr 2016
[Film or Video]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2016) Seismic 1&2. [Exhibition] [Photograph, Inkjet onto Aluminium Composite Material, 900mm x 1368mm]. Wellington, New Zealand: Pataka Gallery - hosted the Academy Galleries, 9 Apr 2016 - 20 Apr 2016
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2015) Surface tensions. [Exhibition] [A large scale video installation]. Nouméa, New Caledonia: Tjibaou centre, 28 Feb 2015 - 28 June 2015
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
McQuillan, H., Archer-Martin, J., Bailey, J., Fox Derwin, E., Kane, K., O'Hara, J., . . . Stewart-MacDonald, B. (2015). Make/Use. Auckland, NZ: Objectspace, 11 July - 8 Aug 2015
[Design]Authored by: Archer-Martin, J., Bailey, J., O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ., Slade, B., & Hooper, E. (2014). NZSO 2015 Season Marketing Imagery. Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.Contributed to by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2014) Stranded in Paradise. [Exhibition] Wellington City Council building (as part of nationwide outdoor exhibition)
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, J. (2014). New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Insight Creative 'Pause' Interactive/Video. Online: NZSO/Insight Creative
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2013) Ripple Exhibition. [Exhibition] Cecil Veda Gallery
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2013) Four new documentary photographs from the Kermadec Voyage (Including “Sea change” and “Gunner John”). [Exhibition] [4 photographs, various sizes]. Devonport, Auckland: Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, 28 November 2013 - March 2014
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, J. (2013) The Deep. [Exhibition] [Photographic series of 6, each 307mm], Nouméa, New Caledonia, Tjibaou Centre, 28 Feb 2015 - 28 Jun 2015
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.Contributed to by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2012). Thonet: Brand imagery. Wellington: Thonet New Zealand
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ. (2012). Thonet: Website and promotional booklet. Wellington: Thonet New Zealand
[Design]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, J. (2012) Full Fathom Five. [Exhibition] [ Photographic collage, 580mm x 1370]. Santiago, Chile: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Contemporary Art Museum)
[Artwork]Authored by: O'Hara, W.


O'Hara, W. (2019). Where memories sleep : an exploration into human-centred design and visual storytelling to persuade and educate : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master in Design at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. (Master's Thesis, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand)
[Masters Thesis]Authored by: O'Hara, W.


O'Hara, W. (2018, October). Arts and artists in Antarctica: Guest lecture on Antarctica at Victoria University of Wellington. Presented at Victoria University, Wellington.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
O'Hara, WJ., White, DR., Thomson, E., Foster, B., Golder, B., & Neall, V. (2015, May). Artist evening for "Kermadec: Lines in the Ocean" at Te Manawa. In Invited guests of Te Manawa and Te Manawa Art Society and Science Centre Inc.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: O'Hara, W.
Dadson, P., Foster, B., Hall, F., O’Brien, G., O'Hara, WJ., Pule, J., . . . Trnski, DT. (2011). Encounters, Public presentation and accompanying publication.
[Other]Authored by: O'Hara, W.Contributed to by: O'Hara, W.

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

222.257 VCD Studio IIA - Puna
222.257 VCD Studio IIA - Kaitiakitanga
222.357 Module: Guide: Web
222.358 Design Studio IIIB (Visual Communication)
222.392 Interactive Digial Environments

Media and Links


  • 29 Jan 2013 - Radio
    Concert Radio Interview
    Interview on Concert Radio's "Upbeat" show with regard to my featuring in the City Gallery Wellington's 'Kermadec' exhibition.
  • 23 Oct 2016 - Video
    Video for International singing day 2016
    Video for International singing day 2016 shot in Antarctica. Not long after we arrived at Scott Base, Antarctica I videoed my project partner, Warren Maxwell as he sang a stunning waiata to mark “Int
  • 14 Jun 2001 - Magazine
    Package and Design (China)
    A ten page article in leading Chinese design magazine “Package and design” about my design company “Origin”. It featured ten projects I personally worked on as well as many others from the company. I
  • 13 Jul 2015 - Radio
    "Ethics in fashion" Interview on Radio New Zealand
    Radio New Zealands "Standing Room Only" show interviewed Holly McQuillan just prior to the opening of Make/Use.
  • 10 Nov 2015 - Newspaper
    Short article in Gisborne Herald
    A short article in the Gisborne Herald about the “Kermadec: Lines In The Ocean” exhibition at Tairawhiti Museum.
  • 08 Dec 2016 - Newspaper
    DomPost Antarctica Article
    An article in the DomPost by Sarah Catherall about my “Antarctica: #60 shades of white” project with Warren Maxwell. Titled "Singer lays down Antarctic Roots"
  • 06 Feb 2017 - Magazine
    ProPhotographer Magazine article
    An article on the Antarctica #60 shades of white project in highly regarded photography magazine"ProPhotographer"
  • 03 Feb 2015 - Radio
    NZ artists work to be exhibited in New Caledonia
    Kermadec curator Reuben Friend is interviewed on Radio New Zealand's " Dateline Pacific" show about the Kermadec Exhibition in New Caledonia
  • 01 Oct 1992 - Magazine
    ProDesign Magazine article “Wellington fights back
    I was interviewed as part of a group of leading Wellington based designers on the state of the Wellington design industry.
  • 01 Dec 2011 - Magazine
    Artnews New Zealand article
    A six page article on the Kermadec Voyage including a selection of my documentory photographs from "Kermadec -documenting a voyage" and the artwork "Crossings"
  • 01 Dec 2011 - Magazine
    Art News
    In May 2011 I was invited to join eight of New Zealand’s leading artists (Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson, Robin White) on the HMNZS

Other Links