Myth founder and creative director Hayden Breese in the
company's Arthur St offices. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Sitting in a tiny bedsit in the United Kingdom, Hayden
Breese surrounded himself with ''bits of paper'' and mapped out
his future business.
It was a defining moment, as he was ''sitting in some random
part of the world'' and reflecting what life was going to be
like for the next 20 or 30 years.
On his return to New Zealand, he established Myth, a digital
and brand agency based in Dunedin.
''It's amazing to then see things come to fruition, just
through some incremental improvement and change,'' Mr Breese
Describing himself as independent, strong-willed, focused and
determined, he liked making his own destiny, with the freedom
to follow his own ideas and inspirations.
Brought up in Dunedin, he was educated at The Taieri High
School (now Taieri College) and the University of Otago,
where he studied management and marketing. He also joined the
army to train as an officer.
Working for an internet service provider in Auckland gave him
experience in both internet and marketing.
Further experience was gained while working for an
advertising agency in the UK, which allowed him to combine
knowledge of the internet with the advertising industry.
It was a time when marketing and technology converged and his
development was well-timed for that, he said.
Dunedin seemed the ''logical place'' to return to and
establish a business.
''I figured here was as good a place as any to get something
Myth was built ''brick by brick'', with no investors
involved, but a focus on quality and service. It had a staff
of 10, including Mr Breese who was also creative director.
His role required a diverse range of skills from being
''extremely creative to being very logical''.
The company's clients included Dunedin Venues Management Ltd
and the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Escea, AbacusBio and Pacific
Myth liked to work with people were were ''passionate and
inspired'' about their business.
''They want to be world-class or get real results. They don't
just want a website or a brand for the sake of it. They are
usually leaders and they are inspiring people. We want those
sort of people as clients.''
Creativity was hugely important and it was ideas that
businesses needed more than anything, ''especially here in
''We need clever people, new ideas, fresh thinking and, most
of all, imagination,'' he said.
''I get so excited about what we can do for someone. What I
can see is their future in my head. They kind of know it
already, but can't articulate it. Imagination is a big part
of who I am.''
Among his roles was making sure the company was innovative
and changing and he was a firm believer in continuous
improvement and constant change.
''I believe you have to reinvent yourself probably every
couple of years - so we do. We take things apart, put them
back together, add new things, adapt because we have to to do
Myth's headquarters in Arthur St was an ''incredible place to
work'' with a dedicated and focused team of staff.
''They come to work and they are happy to be here - and they
have to be in the industry. To survive and do really well,
you've got to work really hard, because there's so much
thinking involved,'' he said.
Dunedin was home for Mr Breese and his family and the city
where his children - he and his wife Samantha, a clinical
psychologist, have a son, Austin (2), and 1-month-old
daughter Thea - would grow up.
What he did care about was that there were good jobs for
young people available in the city.
''I think Dunedin has a future. If I didn't, I would be here
. . . I believe in it. I have seen, of late, so much team
work and collaboration and that really inspires me.
Ultimately, what we need is confidence. We need strong,
He had spoken as guest lecturer to masters of
entrepreneurship and marketing students at the University of
Otago, and also at his old school, Taieri College, which he
''You get to share some stories. I believe all can do
whatever they want to do. They just have to believe in
themselves and believe in their ideas and follow it through.
''I think we should all aim high and think big and have high
standards and pursue excellence.''
Mr Breese had big aspirations - ''to create a company where
people, ideas, design, technology and innovation create
prosperity and hope'' - and staffing of 20 was the goal,
which the company was on track to achieve.
''I guess at some point, you've got to ask yourself, can a
leading international world-class digital and brand agency be
based in Dunedin? Anything's possible, just through one step
at a time,'' he said.