Students shine at manufacturing and design conference

The recent Manufacturing and Design New Zealand conference, MaD2019: Future-proofing New Zealand’s Manufacturing and Design Economy, brought together a cross-disciplinary community of New Zealand researchers, industry and students to envision and shape New Zealand’s future manufacturing economy.

The Conference was hosted by the University of Auckland. Professor Jim Johnston, School of Chemical and Physical Sciences was Co-chair of the Conference Organising Committee and Tim Miller, School of Design was a member of the Committee.

A number of staff and students from Victoria University of Wellington presented research as part of the conference, including Maryam Mianji, who won the Callaghan Innovation Student Innovation Showcase award, Xuxu Amoozegar-Montero, who scooped the People’ Choice Award for best oral presentation of the conference, and Emma Wrigglesworth who won a highly commended in the Callaghan Innovation Student Innovation Showcase.

The Student Innovation Showcase was a pop-up exhibition which provided students from across the country with the opportunity to explain their work through physical demonstrations, samples or exhibits, and gain feedback from industry, academics and fellow student delegates.

Maryam Mianji, Winner –Student Innovation Showcase

Maryam shared her Flat Pack Furniture concept—which uses innovative technology to design, manufacture, ship and transform furniture.

“The Flat Pack Furniture concept is a series of 3D and 4D printed furniture designs made from engineered bio-based polymer composites.

“The products are fabricated and transferred to the final destination in flat pack forms which is both economic and requires a short printing time. Once delivered at the destination, the flat pack furniture can transform into its pre-programmed 3D shape when heated. This is the result of the unique shape memory capability of the bio-based polymer composite formulation developed by John McDonald Wharry at Waikato University, as part of the NSC Spearhead project ‘3D and 4D printing of bio-composites’.

Maryam is supervised by Professor Simon Fraser and Dr Tim Miller, from the School of Design.


  • University of Waikato: John McDonald-Wharry, Kim Pickering
  • Scion: Marie Joo Le Guen, Maxime Barbier  
  • Victoria University of Wellington: Maryam Namini Mianji, Yejun Fu, Tim Miller, Simon Fraser

The cellulose and bio-based polyester formulations developed by materials scientists at the University of Waikato and Scion in collaboration with designers at Victoria University of Wellington.  

Xuxu Amoozegar-Montero, Winner – People’ Choice Award for best oral presentation

Xuxu presented her research into how digital manufacturing can be used to develop a system for ensuring more accurate bra fit and design as part of the ‘3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing’ conference session.

“Unlike traditional bra fitting methods, this system utilises advanced technologies such as 3D scanning, to consider additional factors that are not currently recognised, like asymmetry and outline.

“This research also investigated the role of 3D knitting to fill the gap of customisation and individualisation at a mass production level, as well as serving as an innovative approach responding to bra design issues.”

Xuxu is supervised by Dr Edgar Rodriguez from the School of Design.

Emma Wrigglesworth, Highly Commended –Student Innovation Showcase

Emma, who is completing her PhD in Chemistry in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, shared her research on the discovery and application of the dichroic effect in cuprous oxide particles.

“The dichroic effect, is when a material displays one colour in transmitted light, but a different colour in reflected light. During the showcase I presented the synthesis and application of dichroic cuprous oxide particles that appear yellow or orange when a light source is place in front of them, but purple, blue or grey when they are lit from behind. By incorporating these particles into polymers, the effect is encapsulated for potential application in areas of security and design.

“The type of chemistry I am interested in is closely aligned to industry and the manufacturing sector. I found the MaD2019 conference to be very beneficial to my work. It was useful to be able to share my research with a wide range of people with different interests and backgrounds, getting feedback, advice and ideas. It was also an excellent networking opportunity which allowed me to make contacts with people from both industry and academia.”

Emma is supervised by Professor Jim Johnston, from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.

Find out more about the conference on their website: