Massey and Weta Workshop provide launchpad for creative pioneers

Ivan Vegar in studio at Massey's Wellington campus.

Original artwork by Laura King.

Original artwork by Christiaan Gerritsen.


A master’s programme run by Massey University and Weta Workshop is setting up Wellington students to be the next pioneers in creating imaginary worlds for film, television and gaming.

Master of Design: Weta Workshop School focuses on the key areas of idea creation, storytelling and concept design. Students study at Massey’s vibrant creative campus and undertake an internship at world-renowned concept design and manufacturing facility, Weta Workshop.

Course co-supervisor and Weta Workshop art director Paul Tobin says he hopes the programme will help raise the skill-set of homegrown talent even higher. “The programme is designed to push the skills of designers who are looking to take their career to the next level,” he says.

“Successful students will graduate with the diverse range of skills needed to start a career in concept design and visual storytelling for the entertainment industry,” he says.

After graduating from Massey’s School of Design in 2008, Wellingtonian Ivan Vegar has been working as a freelance designer.

This year he has taken on a contract at Weta Workshop as well as focusing on his master's studies.

“Being from Miramar, I always saw the Weta crew and was eager to be a part of what they were doing. I wanted to get a skill-set that would give me that edge to get there professionally.

“You won’t find a lot of places that will help you improve your technical skills, such as 3D or photoshop, and crucially also teach you research and storytelling, which can help you level-up to Weta Workshop’s high standard,” he says.

Laura King is a Massey Bachelor of Design graduate who has been at Weta Workshop for five years as a prop and miniature builder. She is doing the master's to achieve her dream of becoming a full-time concept artist, specialising in costume design.

She says the experience has helped her step out of her comfort zone. “It’s helping me to reach my full potential by improving my design skills and giving me a lot of confidence with pitching and presenting my ideas and work,” she says.

Ms King says working at Weta Workshop has a special relevance for her. “When I was 12 years old, my Mum told us we were moving to New Zealand [from England] and I’d never been before and didn’t know anything about it. So my Mum took us to all of the Lord of the Rings films to get us used to New Zealand. The films and the worlds they created really inspired me, and it’s come full circle now that I work there and am doing the master's.”

Applications for the Master of Design: Weta Workshop School at Massey University close on May 31. The 12-month, full-time programme begins on September 16 in Wellington. To learn more about the entry criteria and to apply, click here.

Massey and Weta Workshop at Chromacon in Auckland

  • Aspiring designers and artists in Auckland can meet Paul Tobin and course co-supervisor Tanya Marriott alongside Weta Workshop concept artists Jeremy Hanna and Dane Madgewick, at Chromacon in the Aotea Centre on June 1 and 2.
  • Up and coming designers can bring their portfolios to the free Chromacon festival for pre-approval to Massey’s Bachelor of Design and learn more about a career in design. 

 Weta Workshop at Chroma Connect in Wellington

  • Aspiring designers and artists in Wellington can meet Weta Workshop concept artists Jeremy Hanna and Dane Madgewick at Chroma Connect at Massey University on June 8 and 9 June for a day-along creative symposium followed by masterclasses with some of the world’s best international creators of fine art, illustration, mural, and concept design. 

Childhood's End by Ivan Vegar.


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