Honorary doctorate for top NZ designer

The LOMAK design that won a gold medal in the 2007 IDEA Awards
Peter Haythornthwaite

One of New Zealand’s leading designers, Peter Haythornthwaite, will be awarded an honorary doctorate in science during Victoria University’s December graduation.

Peter Haythornthwaite is an industrial designer whose extensive creative output has garnered national and international recognition. During a career spanning over four decades, he has established several successful design companies and received numerous awards, including the 2003 Designers Institute of New Zealand John Britten Award.

In 2007, Mr Haythornthwaite and his creative team received one of the world’s highest design industry accolades - a prestigious gold medal in the Industrial Designers Society of America’s IDEA awards - for the LOMAK (Light Operated Mouse and Keyboard) design, which enables people with physical impairments to use computers more easily through the use of light sensor technology.

LOMAK was subsequently included in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

"I've been lucky to be able to work with Peter as part of the Better By design program, and it is always a delight," entrepreneur Lance Wiggs told NBR ONLINE.

"Peter's unquestioned design pedigree and influence is only a part of the reason why he commands such respect in NZ. Within the Better By Design  program alone he has helped over 60 high-growth companies, and he has balanced that and his design work with significant dedication to education. The perfect choice for Victoria University's first honouree design graduate," Mr Wiggs said.

Mr Haythornthwaite has held a number of tertiary academic positions, and was appointed Adjunct Professor of Design at Victoria University’s School of Design in 2004. In this capacity he has acted as a tutor and guest lecturer, enabled internships and placement opportunities for students, and provided valuable support for the School’s Design Led Futures programme.

A former President and Council member of the Design Institute of New Zealand, he has generously supported the New Zealand design sector through his involvement in a range of initiatives, including founding the Best Design Awards in 1988, and in 1995 he was made a Fellow of the Institute in recognition of his distinguished service. He is also an international adviser to the Boston-based Design Management Institute.

In recent years, he has advised New Zealand export businesses on how to build their design capability through the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Better by Design programme, which he played a key role in developing and which has now been extended to four Australian states.

Mr Haythornthwaite will receive his honorary degree during the Victoria University graduation ceremony for the faculties of Architecture and Design, Science and Engineering on December 13.

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