Design Generation exhibition

Manufacturing our Future

Manufacturing our Future was a series of public events held in September 2018 that aimed to stimulate thought on how New Zealanders can play a part in the future of design and innovation.

The events brought together internationally recognised experts and design leaders, and included exhibitions, public lectures and workshops.


Design Generation

Design Generation was curated by Michael Smythe on behalf of Objectspace in Auckland (March–April 2018), one of New Zealand’s foremost galleries dedicated to architecture and design, and sponsored by Fisher & Paykel Appliances.

It featured five decades of creative works from Peter Haythornthwaite, widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most influential industrial designers. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same name, researched and written by Michael Smythe, one of New Zealand’s leading authors on New Zealand Design. Design Generation was bought to Wellington as a celebration of design and to acknowledge Peter Haythornthwaite’s role as Adjunct Professor to Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design, his Honorary Doctorate and Order of Merit for services to design and business enterprise in New Zealand.

Future Design Generation

Future Design Generation featured a diverse and unexpected range of technologies, manufactured products and prototypes emerging from Victoria University of Wellington, the Wellington region and our global networks.

Find out more about the exhibition items:

Public lectures

How does design shape New Zealand’s design-led enterprise?

New Zealand has “latent potential galore” but will not fulfil it while it lacks a long-term vision, says industrial designer Peter Haythornthwaite. Read more on Newsroom about what was discussed at this panel discussion.

Tracing the trajectory of New Zealand’s design-driven innovation

Michael Smythe, designer and partner Creationz Consultants, explored the points of difference that have positioned New Zealand design.

Tikanga and technology

Karl Johnstone, owner Huami (NZ) Ltd, considered the importance of new technologies within the Māori environment to further unlock Māori potential and opportunities for the future.


The workshops were two-hour strategy sessions that aimed to expand our six founding research platforms to new audiences and aspirational horizons. This included discussions on:

  • Distributed clean energy
  • The 4D printing empowered university
  • The design hub for Victoria University of Wellington manufacturing enterprises
  • The intelligent city technology research centre
  • The New Zealand indigenous technologies partnership
  • Wellington smart health device technologies.