A jewel in the Whitireia crown

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The jewellery design programme at Whitireia is internationally renowned with graduates taking the world by storm, exhibiting across the globe, and receiving a number of awards along the way.

Their success is attributable in large part to head tutor Peter Deckers and his über-talented teaching team. Peter leads by example, continuing to create work, as well as curating collections for national and international exhibitions. He also regularly brings in some of the world’s best jewellery designers as guest lecturers.

Peter Deckers at ATTA gallery

Peter Deckers speaking at ATTA gallery in Bangkok, Thailand (image courtesy of ATTA Gallery)

Whitireia offers one of only two jewellery design programmes in New Zealand, and the success of the teaching staff and graduates speaks volumes about the excellence of the programme. It prepares students to meet the expectations of industry, providing a stimulating, creative education in jewellery design and making. Incorporating both the practical application of theory-based processed and an environment for creative development and expression, students learn technical skills for a range of applications, along with creative development, project management, and theoretical studies.

The programme's emphasis on exhibiting, networking and promotion ensures that students are on the road to becoming established artists by the time they graduate, if not before. Recent graduate Jun Xie received a 2017 Fingers Graduate Award, and a highly commended in the ECC NZ Student Craft/Design Awards, while current students Grace Yu Piper (another recipient of a Fingers award) and Renee Pearson have both been selected for inclusion in the international TALENTE 2018 competition in Munich, Germany.

Work by Grace Yu Piper

Work by Grace Yu Piper

The latest iteration of the Handshake Project, created by Peter Deckers and featuring several emerging Whitireia jewellers, exhibited at the Frame Galleries, Munich, during Munich Jewellery Week 2017, and also collaborated with London-based Dialogue Collective at Lot62. Later in the year, an exhibition of Handshake work was held back in New Zealand at the Dowse Art Museum, while CHAINreaction, yet another showing from Handshake jewellers, is running from January to February 2018 at ATTA Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand.

chainreaction at atta

CHAINreaction at ATTA gallery in Bangkok, Thailand (image courtesy of ATTA Gallery)

Whitireia students and graduates are also sought after by galleries and collectors, with the Dowse purchasing work by graduate Neke Moa as part of its commitment to strengthening the presence of women and Māori artists in their collection. Similarly, the prestigious Tim Melville Gallery in Auckland is representing Renee Pearson, based on work she has created during her current Whitireia studies.

renee pearson greywacke tool objects

Renee Pearson, greywacke tool objects


In March 2018, the jewellery programme will be run from Te Kāhui Auaha, our new purpose built campus in Wellington city, where Whitireia and WelTec arts students will study and turn their creative talents into a career. Study on the one year New Zealand Diploma in Jewellery (Level 5) or as a specialisation of the Bachelor of Creativity (Visual Arts).