Eight Otago Polytechnic projects in Best Design Awards finals

Eight Otago Polytechnic School of Design projects, involving students, graduates and staff members, have been named finalists in the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards 2021.

The Best Design Awards are an annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product, interactive and motion design.

“To have the work of so many of our talented designers acknowledged by the judges is an outstanding achievement,” says Federico Freschi, head of Te Maru Pumanawa: College of Creative Practice and Enterprise.

“Previous Best Awards finalists and winners have built on their success to launch their design careers in New Zealand and overseas.”

“Our finalists encompass a wide range of Design disciplines – Product, Architecture, Communication and Fashion – and span graduates, current students, staff and, significantly, partnerships outside of Otago Polytechnic.

“For example, the Public Good finals category features staff members Andrew Wallace and William Early and their amazing collaboration with South Med to create a ventilator hood to help patients with Covid-19,” Federico says.

“And the Value of Design category features the Vision 2020 Vision Screening project that included Mary Butler, Alex Gilks, Curtis Stent and Machiko Niimi. This project, which has benefited many children, showed the power of cross-disciplinary thinking.

“However, those are just two examples.

“The depth of thinking, allied to the technical and creative execution, and the teamwork required to bring projects to fruition, is evident throughout all these finalists’ work.”

More information on each Otago Polytechnic-related finalist:


Mila Makasini (2020 graduate) (Navigating Culture) - Spatial, Year 3

Lauren Arthur (Year-2 student) (Room for Thought) - Spatial, Year 2

Product Design:

Ella Sanderson and Angus Lewry (Free Rein) - Student Product

Andrew Wallace and William Early and SouthMed team (Suzy Ventilation Hood) - Public Good

Mary Butler, Alex Gilks, Curtis Stent and Machiko Niimi and Vision 2020 team - Value of Design


Courtney Forbes (2020 graduate)(Pōpopo Wormporium) - Student Graphics

Cameron Tillotson (2020 graduate) (Video for Merc Lady) - Student Moving Image


Dr Margo Barton and Otago Museum team (Fashion Forward >>
Disruption Through Design) - Spatial Design in Exhibition and Temporary Structures

Published on 12 Oct 2021