Shaz Bell

First year Design Innovation student Shaz was a recipient of the Future Designers scholarship.


What’s your name and where are you from?

Hiya! I’m Shaz Bell. I come from the little town Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty, and until 2020 I was attending Whakatane High School for my studies.

Please tell us a little about yourself

As an individual, I have always been obsessed with the creative attributes of life, whether that be through music, art, or design. As a designer, I found my strongest interest within the realms of photography and 3D modelling, and how these mediums can allow other mediums to create and express the visions in my mind after being introduced to them in high school.

You were awarded the Future Designer's scholarship, how did you hear about it?

How I found the Future Designer’s scholarship was honestly out of curiosity. Just one day I was scrolling through Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s list of scholarships to see if there were any available to benefit first-year design students. By chance, there was!

What do you study and why did you choose to study at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington?

It had been a dream of mine to live in Wellington and study at Victoria University of Wellington subconsciously since I had started high school, and it was my mission to get through my school studies to make it here.

Ultimately, it was just a matter of finding a degree that was of interest with the available study pathways. By my final year at school I identified that my interests were most compatible with the Bachelor of Design Innovation, majoring in Media Design and minoring in Media Studies.

Why did you choose your degree?

I was drawn to the Bachelor in Design Innovation. I could tell it wasn’t just creating graphics and visual content, but understanding how we interact with design every day and what it can lead us to in the future.

The particular appeal for me to a Bachelor in Design Innovation was that the course provided the opportunity to engage and learn design practices that are still being developed, as well as future-proofing the skills be applicable upon entering the design realm; which was not offered at any other university in New Zealand.

How would you describe your student experience on the first year?

A whirlwind. It went by so fast, but it truly was incredible. I worked on some incredible projects for my first-year design courses and got to meet so many other like-minded, creative individuals along the way. Although it can be formidable when the due dates are near, it’s really stimulating.

The first-year design innovation courses offered a wealth of creative freedom. The design tutors and lecturers took an interest in my concepts and directed me to explore my talents, enabling me to do more than what I thought I could achieve and generate pieces I was proud of handing in.

What advice would you give the prospective students?

Build a good connection with your lecturers and tutors so that you’re unafraid to share your concepts with them, to build on top of your initial concepts, and gain critical feedback.

What is Wellington like to live while studying?

The city is full of vibrancy and just a general buzz of creativity. I’m constantly being energized by other creative individuals I meet. As well as being able to support other young creatives from an array of diverse fields from art to music, gigs, performances, fashion and so much more; making it such an ideal location to become creatively fuelled.

Any memorable moments, projects, courses or lecturers from the first year? What made them memorable?

The incredible lecturers and tutors for providing such incredible course content that was of consistent interest. The memorable moments would have been from DSDN171 (Design in Context) with Dan Scudder and his memeable love for chair designs in every lecture. But also the guest lecture by Kere on the variation and history of memes, dank, spicy and deep-fried, who would’ve thought that content would be available at university.

The most memorable project would probably be from DSDN132 (Animation and Visual Effects), where we had to recreate a Wellington scene in Blender software and change the style. Basically, my main view from Halls of Residence is critically the ugliest building in Wellington so I decided to destroy it in the 3D software by having it be set in a post-apocalyptic environment, that was good fun.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

The best piece of advice I got was during the Design course orientation, a student made a comment of “Make stuff that you want to post on Instagram.” It may sound shallow, but this advice pushed me to make my work better and better; to create a work that I would love to be seen by others online and as part of my portfolio (@point.capture cheeky self-promo).

If you could say one thing to current high school students?

There are two things I’d want to say to current high school students who intend on coming to University.

  1. Select a field that interests you, it is so important. Also experiment, try applying new and abstract concepts to the topic at hand. No matter the field I feel I’ve learnt so much more by experimenting with that in my concluding year of high school and at university.
  2. I don’t want to sound like every high school teacher ever, but understanding time management is extremely important at university, especially studying design.

Plans for the future?

My focus currently is to finish my Bachelor in Design Innovation, majoring in media design. Then I guess I’ll see where I end up after that! I’m quite interested in continuing with the Master of Design Technology, but that is still quite far away.

What would someone be surprised to know about you?

I do photography on the side as a passion.