Britomart People / Emma Kaniuk

Co-founder with Tana Mitchell of Studio Akin, a graphic design and branding company, Emma knows what makes a great package.


Are you from Auckland? Yes, I grew up in Massey before it was a suburb, back when it was farms and there were wild horses.

How do you get to Britomart? I catch the train from Avondale.

What is your everyday? It should include a run. It doesn’t often. And it includes coming to the office, dealing with a lot of emails, talking to clients and a mix of being on the tools and designing and managing suppliers and contractors. And definitely a lunch break. We do that every day.

Where do you lunch? I think Ima is my favourite at the moment, they do a really good mixed salad. But Amano is great. My favourite is the tomatoes on toast for breakfast. We’re pretty spoilt around here. I do have dreams of making my own lunches often, but it’s a bit too easy not to.

What do you enjoy about working here? Seeing the sea. We’re so lucky to be able to see that little sliver of blue, the yachts, and the boats going out to Waiheke. Sometimes there are apparently whales out there, but I haven’t seen any. I could lie if you think it would make a better story?

What’s your favourite hidden Auckland City gem? My favourite hidden gem is a big waterfall in Waterview. Not many people know about that. I don’t remember what it’s called, but its beautiful. [Editor’s note: It’s Oakley Creek Falls.]

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you… in Britomart? Akin. Tana and I started this business here. In this very office.

What would you say is your specialty? I think packaging is probably my specialist skill in design. It’s what I love doing the most.

What’s your idea of a good time? Swimming in the ocean. I love the West Coast.

What’s one thing that not many people know about you? That I’m Polish. And I competitively swam at a national level as a child.

Have you ever done something heroic? I saved someone from drowning. My sister and I were swimming at Cathedral Cove and it was a really rough day and this girl got dragged out. And at first we just kept an eye on her and then it started to become really obvious she needed help, so my sister and I swam out and we pulled her back in. My sister did surf lifesaving and she led the charge.

What would the world be like if it was filled with male and female copies of you? Probably too serious, but I’m really working on that. And I’m trying to live in the moment. That’s my new thing.

Interview and photograph by Florence Noble