Whitireia NZ is dedicated to its students. The small department caters to the individual with extensive tools, workshop facilities, individual studio spaces, and a committed team of tutors and mentors. The programme fosters a seamless connection between learning and practice, where students are encouraged to explore ideas through combinations of research, techniques, and material explorations—in depth, width, and height. The course is hands on and we never stop searching for innovations in content and context. Emphasis is given to experimentation and the extension of all known boundaries. The result is a flow of highly original works and professional, practicing studio makers. Our students’ many successes are due to their hard work, the dedication of the teaching team, the unique programme, and the school’s culture of shared endeavour and mutual support.
Recently, Whitireia graduates have been making a real difference on New Zealand’s jewellery landscape. Successes include the birth of the exciting The See Here gallery and website; two graduates being selected for Talente in two consecutive years; exciting inclusions in renowned jewellery galleries around the country and beyond, even as far as New York; Handshake, for both those involved and for the Whitireia emerging jewellery community; the continuing buzz and all the happy spinoffs from the jewellery conference Jemposium; the many student exhibitions (group and third-years’ solo shows); the various awards and artist in residency at Toi Poneke; and the highly anticipated jewellery auction in aid of the production of the end-of-year catalog, now a serious and sought-after publication. The tutor team has all the aspects of a single jewellery super-brain, assisted with top-ups by invited guest tutors/artists and mentors.
The programme has been extended for those wanting to up-skill their degree/career with a one-year graduate diploma or a half-year graduate certificate. The Whitireia visual arts department has not been affected by big cuts or unpleasant changes; instead it goes from strength to strength, supporting high-calibre students to attain their contemporary jewellery dreams.
Peter Deckers, jewellery coordinator, senior tutor
MTS (Vakschool Schoonhoven), MFA (Hons) (Elam), DipTeach
Peter studied art and jewellery making in both the Netherlands and New Zealand. He is very active in his own art practice, making collections for national and international exhibitions. His philosophy in arts education is that each individual (student) is unique, therefore has potential for artistic expression. His passion for jewellery and the arts transfigures lessons into experiences.
Peter is both a contemporary artist and a craftsperson. Ideas that make distinctive connections with jewellery are the inspiration for his work, and a recent 20-year survey exhibition at Pataka, Porirua, highlighted his interest in language through a series of engaging pieces displayed with accompanying sound. He exhibits with dealer galleries throughout New Zealand and the world. His work, philosophy, and ideas have also been the subject of a book, Choices of the Hand: A survey of work from New Zealand jeweller Peter Deckers, introduction by Stevan Eldred-Grigg. He is the instigator and organiser for the mentor and exhibition project called Handshake.
Kelly McDonald, programme/academic consultant, tutor
BN (Monash), BVisArts (Sydney)
Kelly has a wide background for her jewellery teaching at Whitireia, having worked as a jewellery tutor in Sydney, 1999–2004; exhibited in a range of solo and group shows in both Australia and New Zealand; and worked on props and models for Big Primate Productions in Wellington.
RECENT GRADUATES: If you recently received a degree--BA, BFA, MA, or MFA--from this university, everything you need to know to upload your graduate portfolio can be found at this link.