Student profiles

View student profiles from the School of Design and find out why they enjoy studying here.

Tamati Kawha

Master of Design Innovation in Media Design

During his studies at Victoria Tamati Kawha enjoyed pushing the boundaries and found his lecturer’s encouragement helped him develop his skills and find his passion.

‘Victoria offered me a lot of projects where the boundaries could be pushed, and more importantly, offered a strong group of coordinators who would always support the direction I wanted to take my project.’

Tamati’s craft is video production, from the original concept, to filming and lighting, right through to animation,  sound and post-production editing.

Of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi and originally from Te Kaha, a rural area on the East Cape, Tamati was keen to study in Wellington due to its rich artistic community and the connections with industry at Victoria.

“The Te Aro campus is the perfect location—Cuba Street is always buzzing with performers, it’s not far from Miramar which is overflowing with big productions, and there is always good theatre on.”

Tamati directed a music video funded by NZ On Air this year, and has a project lined up with Māori Television. He is currently a tutor in MDDN 211 Digital Video Production and MDDN 314 Audio-Visual Space and will
finish his Master’s next year.

Jess Noone

Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Culture and Context

Blury image showing a person jumping down stairs and capturing the movement
Exploring the City, for CCDN 331 Live Theory, by Jess Noone. From the harsh static buildings, it is the people within that bring it to life through colour and movement.

Jess Noone wasn’t sure what she wanted to specialise in so she looked for a degree that covered a broad range of subjects, and found the Bachelor of Design Innovation was for her.

“I really enjoyed the degree—so much of it is shaped by what you are interested in, and I was able to tailor it to my passions.”

Jess found the thought processes in design intriguing. “I enjoyed the deeper thinking behind design and how this can affect the world we live in.”

She was part of an award-winning group who designed a plate and bowl set around the idea that psychology principles can be used to trick the mind to reduce portion size.

In her final year, Jess undertook an internship to gain practical experience.

“Victoria made it possible for me to do the internship, by providing flexibility and support to work and study at the same time.”

Hailing from Tauranga, Jess found Wellington a perfect place to study.

“Wellington is a fantastic place to live as a design student. You get all the opportunities of a big city, with a small-town attitude. Many of the projects I completed involved getting into the city design scene and I was continuously challenged and inspired by the work around me.”

Jess is now a Brand Coordinator for a local start up and loves being part of this innovative community.

Nicole Hone

Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Industrial Design

Bright pink and purple creature-like sculpture
Biological Camera, for INDN 204 Advanced Visualisation and 3D Modelling, by Nicole Hone—a concept for a camera. The textural surface on its wings would be light sensors that would help the creature record data about the health of its surrounding environment.

Nicole Hone always had a passion for visual arts and graphics so when she was looking at university study, she wanted to expand on her passion and gain creative expertise.

She chose Victoria’s Industrial Design programme, which really got her thinking.

“It challenged me to consider the entire design process from critically thinking about ideas, through to product execution. Critiques from lecturers and tutors were valuable learning experiences to help me grow as a designer.”

The programme exposes students to a wide range of historical, contemporary and future theories and approaches within Industrial Design, and has a strong emphasis on industry collaboration.

“The School gave me the opportunity to work with the latest technologies balanced with more traditional production processes. The Summer Research Scholarship offered an avenue in which I could explore ideas
and technologies new to 3D printing.”

Nicole plans to pursue postgraduate study in the Master’s programme.

Flavia Rose

Graduate Diploma in Design

An outfit made of lace, resembling armour
Lace Armour, for DSDN 384 Future Under Negotiation, by Flavia-Rose—a commentary on the symbolic or emotional armour that women wear every day. The lace armour combines notions of femininity with a traditionally masculine object.

Flavia-Rose took a few Media Design papers during her BA and was captivated by them. She then enrolled in a one-year Graduate Diploma in Design.

“I was impressed by the inclusive community and maker culture I found at the School of Design. I had a strong desire to create and learn new skills so I enrolled.”

Flavia-Rose was awarded a Summer Research Scholarship at Weta Workshop towards the end of her studies, part of a relationship between Weta and the School of Design.

“The summer scholarship opened huge doors for me—when it finished I was taken on as a Props Technician to work on upcoming films Ghost in the Shell and Power Rangers. Working at Weta had been a long-held dream—getting there would have been so much harder if it hadn’t been for the scholarship.”

Another milestone during her studies was when Dame Suzie Moncrieff, the founder of the World of Wearable Art show (WoW), came to speak to her Wearable Technology class.

“It was inspiring to speak with her and discuss the garment my team was working on. We’re hoping it will feature in WoW.”

Flavia-Rose is continuing to develop her animation portfolio and enjoying her work.

Sean Harris

Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Culture and Context

Collection of photos of Sean's BMW showroom design
Sean's winning redesign of BMW's headquarters

A Bachelor of Design Innovation appealed to Sean as he could cover all his interests—Design, Art History and Film.

Hailing from Stratford, Taranaki, Sean loved his time at Victoria.

“Studying at Victoria went above and beyond my expectations. I had incredible teachers and mentors, made lifelong friends and got to study what I love. Wellington is the place to study—it has a way of drawing
you in. There is something so special about it.”

The projects Sean completed during his studies won prizes and awards which gave him industry exposure as a designer. He was awarded the Gibson Group Prize for Innovation and Excellence in Culture+Context, and the Henry Hughes Award for Innovation and Excellence in Design.

Sean also won a student design competition with BMW New Zealand, a Victoria collaboration partner, in a 300-level design course. This required students to redesign BMW headquarters appropriately with their brand. Sean’s winning concept (pictured) was an audio-visual installation that evoked the ultimate driving experience within a showroom. As customers walked in they heard a car ignition, followed by a heartbeat pulse that led them around the car.

“The experience was so valuable because I was given the opportunity to put into practice what I had been studying before entering the workforce.”

To any student who is considering Design, Sean would recommend Victoria University.

Ellen Crane

Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Industrial Design

A bed side table made of plywood and wire
Fil, for INDN 342 Digital Fabrication, by Ellen Crane—a bedside table made with a CNC wire bent frame and routed plywood.

From a young age Ellen was always doodling and making arts and crafts so she knew she wanted to study Design.

“The Design Innovation programme allowed me to try a little bit of everything so I could figure out where my skills were, what I enjoyed and what I didn’t.

“Choosing Industrial Design was an easy decision for me—it is a passion and where I have thrived.”

Ellen has completed two Summer Research Scholarships and an independent study course, bridging the gap between university and the design industry. She has worked with brain surgeons at Wellington Hospital and at Weta Workshop.

“It had always been a dream to work at Weta.

“As part of the summer scholarship we moved around departments so we could understand the whole process. I spent most of the time in the props department making, creating and fixing pieces. I learnt a huge amount about different products, tools, ways to tackle issues and not being afraid to ask questions.”

Following the scholarship, Ellen has been working at Weta Workshop.

“I encourage all new and current students to make the most of the resources and opportunities Victoria has to offer—you never know where they will lead. Take chances with projects and ideas, and be bold. When you feel out of your depth, this is when you learn the most. Ask for help, ask questions and learn from your peers—they are smart too!”

Ryan Achten

Master of Design Innovation in Media Design

Screenshot of software made by Media Design student Ryan Achten
Screenshot from Vertice software designed by Ryan Achten

After completing a Design degree at Otago Polytechnic, Ryan Achten was keen to expand his skillset with postgraduate study.

'Victoria's MDI programme exposed me to new design research and technical fields, including creative coding and 3D media. The MDI surpassed any ideas I had prior to joining the course."

Ryan found the involvement with industry during his studies invaluable. He took up two Design Research Assistant contracts with Victoria and a Summer Research Scholarship with the National Library, which culminated in the exhibition The Digital Archive of the Future, exploring the potential of 3D media in archival and library practice.

“Through the industry contacts I made while at Victoria, I was able to secure a position at Te Papa’s new innovation hub, Mahuki, as their Innovation Analyst.”

Moving from Dunedin, Ryan found Wellington a great place to study Design.

“As a creative and innovative hub, Wellington is an amazing place to live. With an abundance of emerging and established forward-thinking companies, there are a number of opportunities available to young designers.”

James Irvine

Master of Design Innovation in Industrial Design

James 3D printed golf club and a golf ball
James' 3D printed golf club which extracts data from a golf player’s swing and deciphers where they hit the ball—their sweet spot.

James was inspired to study Design after seeing his friends making exciting products while he was studying Commerce.

“To be honest, before my friends explained what they were studying, I didn’t even know you could study Industrial Design.”

Now armed with both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, James is working at a design and interior architecture studio in Auckland. He credits Victoria for not only teaching him about design, but giving him
opportunities to develop his skills and confidence.

James completed two Summer Research Scholarships, working with top industrial design industry partners. In his final year he travelled to Milan, to present at a Design conference, DeSForM.

“Presenting in Milan was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t have achieved without support from Victoria and the School of Design.”

At the conference James presented a design process developed during his Master’s studies (pictured) which extracts data from a golf player’s swing and deciphers where they hit the ball—their sweet spot. With this data James can design a customised club using parametric 3D modelling software to distribute weight around the club head to suit the player’s individual swing. The clubs can then be 3D printed in stainless steel or titanium and are fully functional golf clubs, which improve the player’s game.

Victoria’s commercialisation office, Viclink, which helps researchers transform their discoveries into marketable products or services, awarded James’s work the project with the most commercial potential.

Rebecca Jervis

Bachelor of Design Innovation majoring in Media Design

Image of the game Geniud Loci
Screenshot from Genius Loci, a game made by Rebecca Jervis, Adrian Turjak, Woody Cizaldo, Wei Qiang, Peter Setterfield and Sean McKeever.

An interest in animation drew Rebecca Jervis to enrol in Media Design.

“I was particularly drawn to this programme of study because of the collaboration with the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which helped develop a really in-depth understanding of animation. The courses I took also exposed me to new areas of design, and I found my passion was web and app design.”

Rebecca found the close connections with industry at Victoria invaluable.

“I presented my final-year game design project to the Game Developers of Wellington Meetup, which is held at the Te Aro campus, and many industry experts attended. It was exciting to be able to share my research with a group of people involved in that industry.

“I also took part in the ‘Summer of Tech’, an incredible initiative offered to all Wellington-based students, helping them find work in the IT sector. Through Summer of Tech I secured a job in app design.”