Govt invests in new Institute of Design for Otago
Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that the Government is investing $12.5 million in the Otago Institute of
Design – an initiative by Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago, with support from Dunedin City Council.
“Critical to moving the New Zealand economy upmarket is the quality of our design all the way from the concept and
development of goods and services to their production, marketing, and distribution,” Helen Clark said.
“Within the design community now, there is a big focus on designing for sustainability. The Government-backed “Better By
Design” programme, promoted by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the Designers Institute are both promoting the
significant role design can play in making New Zealand more economically and environmentally sustainable..
“Labour in government takes a strategic view of how industry; science, research, and development; and tertiary education
can work alongside each other. We are aligning our investments across these areas to ensure that the respective arms of
government all work in the same direction for a more innovative, high value economy.
“Today’s announcement about new funding for the Otago Institute of Design fits well with our strategy of growth and
development which is driven through investment in education and innovation.
“The Otago Institute of Design will have a top class facility which support product development and technology transfer
alongside quality teaching and learning,” Helen Clark said.
Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson said the Otago Institute of Design will support close collaboration between
Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago, and the communities they both serve.
“Both Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago have strong reputations in the fields of design, prototyping and
technology transfer. The Institute provides the opportunity for them to create a national centre of excellence that will
drive innovation and knowledge creation for New Zealand.
“The Institute will be a magnet for top staff and student talent, and will quickly develop an international reputation
of which New Zealand and Dunedin can be proud.”
Pete Hodgson said creation of the Otago Institute of Design aligns fully with the drive in tertiary education for
greater collaboration between providers and the different groups – for example, industry, business and students – that
“Greater collaboration is critical to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the tertiary education sector, and
increasing its contribution to New Zealand’s economic transformation by improving people’s skill levels and the links
between research and the coal face.”
The government is providing the $12.5 million by way of a suspensory loan to Otago Polytechnic. The University of Otago
will fund its part of the joint venture from existing financial reserves.
Otago Polytechnic currently has 320 equivalent full-time students in four design disciplines at Certificate, Degree,
Diploma and Masters levels. The Institute will be able to accommodate all these students when it is up and running. The
Institute will also be able to accommodate the 160 equivalent full-time students currently studying design at degree
level at the University of Otago.
The Otago Institute of Design will be built on the Wickliffe Press site that adjoins the polytechnic and university. The
site is currently owned by Dunedin City Council, which will leave capital in the site as part of its contribution.
Helen Clark and Pete Hodgson said that this new Government investment complements two others made recently in design
initiatives in Dunedin.
“In 2007, Otago Polytechnic was awarded $1.33m for “Evolver” – a design enterprise mechanism which aims to support new
design start-up businesses and licensing opportunities.
“Then, earlier this year, government granted $1.9m for the establishment of an Applied Design Research Centre, through
the Enterprising Partnership Fund, administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. This centre too is intended to
build links between industry and the design expertise of Otago Polytechnic and Otago University through contracts to
undertake design projects and research.
“All together these three investments are exciting for design, education, and research, and their links to industry.
Through design we can help drive New Zealand’s transformation to a high value, more innovative and more sustainable
economy and to higher living standards,” Helen Clark and Pete Hodgson said.