Experts explore the future of design and manufacturing

A Victoria University of Wellington initiative that takes place next month aims to stimulate thought on how New Zealanders can play a part in the future of design and innovation.

Manufacturing our Future – an abstract metallic design.

From 4 to 30 September, Manufacturing our Future will bring together internationally recognised experts and design leaders from around New Zealand.

The University’s Faculty of Architecture and Design will host two exhibitions throughout the month. One will showcase the career and work of acclaimed industrial designer Peter Haythornthwaite. Peter has been recognised with an Honorary Doctorate from Victoria University and a Queens Birthday Honours medal, and one of his most well-known designs is the Zespri ‘spife’—a spoon/knife used to eat kiwifruit.

A second exhibition will highlight a diverse and unexpected range of technologies, manufactured products and prototypes emerging from the University, the Wellington region and our global networks, including companies such as Nike, Weta Workshop and Ubco bikes—the world’s first dual electric drive bike.

Both exhibitions are free to the public.

A series of evening public lectures and panel discussions will also be held during the first week of September and includes sessions on New Zealand’s point of design difference and new technologies within the Māori environment.

The Manufacturing our Future series of events reflects the role the University is playing in design-led high-value manufacturing, one of its eight areas of focus.

Professor of Industrial Design Simon Fraser says, “High-value manufacturing is cross-disciplinary—applying creativity and collaboration to complex problems and making products or services more valuable and desirable.

“In bringing people together for our series of events, we’ll be showcasing the University’s strengths as a leader in this area, particularly where science and design converge, and our ability to generate internationally acknowledged work.”

Manufacturing our Future public events:

5–30 September

Public exhibitions (free) 
9am–4pm daily 
The Atrium, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Te Aro campus, 139 Vivian Street

Design Generation
Peter Haythornthwaite is widely regarded of one of New Zealand’s most influential industrial designers. This exhibition focuses on the output of his prolific design practice over five decades, from ideation sketches to form models and working prototypes. The exhibition featured at Auckland’s Objectspace earlier this year.

Future Design Generation
View a diverse range of technologies, manufactured products and prototypes developed by staff and students at Victoria University of Wellington, as well as our partners in the region and internationally. This exhibition focuses on themes such as smart health, intelligent cities, distributed energy, high-end 3D and 4D printing, digital technologies for indigenous communities and design for scientific instrumentation.

Tuesday 4 September

Opening event and panel discussion—How does design shape New Zealand’s design-led enterprise
6–7.15pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Te Aro campus, 139 Vivian Street


  • Peter Haythornthwaite, owner Creativelab and Victoria University Adjunct Professor of Design
  • Timothy Allen, founder Locus Research and chief executive Ubco Bikes
  • Victoria Spackman, director Te Auaha, New Zealand Institute of Creativity
  • Karl Johnstone, owner Huami (NZ) Ltd
  • Stephen Cummings, Victoria University Professor of Strategy and Innovation (chair).

Wednesday 5 September

Public lecture—Adopt adapt adept: Tracing the trajectory of New Zealand’s design-driven innovation
6–7pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Te Aro campus, 139 Vivian Street

Speaker: Michael Smythe, designer and partner Creationz Consultants.

Thursday 6 September

Public lecture—Tikanga and technology
6–7pm, Lecture Theatre 1, Te Aro campus, 139 Vivian Street

Speaker: Karl Johnstone, owner Huami (NZ) Ltd and former director of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.

Find the full programme for Manufacturing our Future online.