Mana Zonta award for Natalie Smith

manazonta design award 20132012 Whitireia Foundation scholarship recipient Natalie Smith has scooped not one – but two awards in 2013. The Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts & Design) student was presented with the Mana Zonta Design award, worth $3000, at a ceremony held last week.

This is only the second year of the award, which is given to a female student from Whitireia Visual Arts and Design, on completion of their degree. The award recognises Natalie for her outstanding drive and motivation for design, academic standards and her contribution to design research, aimed at commercialisation.

Deb Donnelly is co-Programme Leader, Visual Arts and Design at Whitireia. She explains, “This award is about women empowering women to succeed. A helping hand at the beginning of a fledging design career can make all the difference and possibly save years of struggle.”

Capping off her success with Mana Zonta, Natalie is exhibiting at TOAST, Whitireia’s graduate Visual Arts and Design exhibition that runs at Pataka Arts + Museum until December 15. At the TOAST opening, Natalie was announced as the Toi Pōneke and Whitireia Artist in Residence, a one year Wellington residency.

The residency provides paid studio space in the creative hub of Toi Pōneke for a third year degree graduate, who intends to extend their study for a further year.

You can see Natalie’s and other graduate work being exhibited at the TOAST exhibition. It’s on at Pataka, cnr Parumoana and Norrie Streets, Porirua from 22 November – 15 December, Monday – Saturday 10am – 4.30pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm.

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Anything to do with people and the environment and I'm interested! I have been writing and commenting about education, the environment and other community-related matters since 2006. I'm a compulsive researcher. In 2009, I finished a thesis on Kapiti's water issues and am still researching outcomes there. This website and the work I do as a trustee for the Whitireia Foundation are part of my aspiration to contribute to 'shaping more sustainable communities'...also the title of my thesis. Look it up - it's free at

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