Kiwi GTA V fans will feel at home in Los Santos thanks to Dre Hema-Kani, who uploaded his mods to Reddit earlier this week. Using a PC and Photoshop, the New Zealand–based father-of-two slipped local brands onto billboards and storefronts—and added a few familiar thugs. The Creators Project called Dre to find out more.
The Creators Project: Why did you choose NZ mods?
Dre Hema-Kani: I pretty much wanted to turn the game into somewhere that reminded me of home. Driving around, seeing familiar things. It was more for myself than anyone else, but I’ve had heaps more interest than I expected. I only put it on Reddit to see if my gaming friends were into it, and if people in New Zealand would actually download it.
Are these the first treatments you’ve done?
Yes, they are something I always wanted to do but I never had the time. I had two weeks off from work so thought I’d learn. After a week I uploaded them to see if I should carry on, and it turns out I should.
**What's your day job? **
I work at a slaughter board, full-time.
Tell us more about the mods.
I made different trucks and trailers that represent the companies from around here. Pak 'n Save, Supercheap Auto, mainly New Zealand companies, but I’ve got bigger brands that you usually see driving around a New Zealand city. Because GTAV has gangs, I made the gangs New Zealand. I’m working on changing the emergency departments to New Zealand ones. I’ve done an Air New Zealand jet, so when I do my first upload that will be on there.
Do you have a background in programming?
I’ve always been into computers most of my life, but then I had a child when I was pretty young, 16, which meant I needed to work. I’m still at the same place doing the same thing, but it has been good to have time to learn this. It’s quite frustrating work; I’m just glad people seem to like it.
Will you release it publicly?
That’s the plan. I didn’t expect it to get any attention, so I thought I’d wait to hear from the companies before I publish anything. I’ll give it a couple of weeks, do some work in the meantime, then upgrade it.
Do you sink a lot of time into GTA?
Not really. I’ve probably spent more time modding it!
Check out Dre Hema-Kani's original post on Reddit.