Sarah Tzikoucos

CREATOR

Sarah Product Design
Ngāpuhi

Product design and chemical formulation – wow, tell us about that?!

We develop all aspects of a product, from the formulation itself to the packaging, the way it’s transported, how eco-friendly it is and how we would market it.

What inspired you to go into that?

One of my brothers is in engineering at UC and I was going to follow him into that. But a high school teacher told me about this degree and how it blends art, science and business. She said she thought I’d really enjoy it and she was right!

Cool. And what’s it like being at university with your whānau?

It’s lovely. I have two brothers and a sister-in-law at UC. We’re renting together which definitely helped me settle in. I’ve also been involved with Te Waka Pākākano (the office for Māori, Pacific and Equality) . They help with tons of things, from academic support to social events. It’s like one big family.

Is there a lot of support in your course too?

Yes, we’re a small group so we have a lot of interaction with our classmates and teachers. I come from a small school in a small town, so being part of a tight-knit group really suits me.

Tell us about Koa, the product you created.

In second semester we had to create a soap. My initial thought was to do something with used coffee grounds which are good for sensitive skin. I also wanted to include Rongoā Māori, our traditional recipes, so I added kawakawa oil which helps with healing. I named my product Koa, which means “joy”. The whole kaupapa behind the product is about healing and spreading joy.

"One day I’d like to start my own business that’s centred on Rongoā Māori, using old recipes for medicinal balms and stripping it right back to the basics."

Sounds amazing! How was it received by your teachers?

Really well. They were on board and helped me with my ideas. One day I’d like to start my own business that’s centred on Rongoā Māori, using old recipes for medicinal balms and stripping it right back to the basics.

You’re passionate about breaking down stereotypes. What message would you like to share?

A lot of people think that if you come from a small town, you’ll never achieve anything big. I think it’s really important to show people that your background doesn’t matter. If you put in the effort, you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be.