Tui Meki

Tui Meki

Industrial Designer
Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design

There’s no such thing as a crazy idea in design, only one that could change the game, says Tui Meki who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design.

“If you love solving problems and have a passion for practical work, I highly recommend studying industrial design. Be openminded to opportunities and challenges presented. There are no crazy ideas in this field.”

With problem-solving such an important aspect of industrial design, Tui is proud that his final-year university project recently earned him Gold at the prestigious Best Design Awards for addressing an issue many Pacific families in New Zealand face.

“For my project Talanoa, I designed a board game to help Samoan families maintain their native language. Talanoa (conversing) is something I saw a need for. Living here in New Zealand I saw firsthand the struggles of my own family members with the language, and what better way to learn than to start from the beginning. I was fortunate to receive a Best Design Awards Gold pin for this project.”

Encouraged to succeed
It was his brother who first introduced him to industrial design, says Tui who grew up in Samoa and came to Auckland as a teenager.

“I hadn’t heard of industrial design until my brother introduced me to it. It was a pathway he knew I would thrive within. Choosing to study industrial design was probably one of the greatest decisions I made. Not only did I enjoy what I was studying, but I was surrounded by amazing people who inspired me every day to become the greatest version of myself.

“I’ve had so many highlights during my three years at AUT. All the sleepless nights, the laughs and countless mistakes are memories I would go back to and relive all over again. One memory in particular is of roaming the city at 12am after being asked to leave my studio the night before my final presentation. At that moment I realised that when you truly enjoy and love what you do, you never feel like you're working a single day in your life.”

He is grateful for the support he had throughout his studies.

“I am where I am today not only because of my own passion for what I do but also because of the encouragement from my peers and lecturers. They constantly pushed me to my limits and challenged my skills. That ingrained in me a sense of hunger to keep striving forward with my dreams. Having such a great group of friends and classmates helped me grow into the designer I am today. I can’t thank them enough.”

A passion for design
He loves being a designer, says Tui who is currently working for furniture company IMO to further his understanding of production processes.

“As a designer, I enjoy solving problems and turning my thoughts into reality. I love going through the design process and creating new things that no one has ever done.”

While he has had many proud moments in his design career so far, there is one design project he is especially proud of.

“A design that will always have a place in my heart is Fa’amama, which I created in 2019. It’s an outdoor cleaning brush that uses firewood ash instead of soap. This could help so many communities who cook food with fire, and give them the opportunity to use this product for their benefit.

“The design itself was a reflection of my upbringing and hardship. Being able to work on and manifest this design into what it has become truly means a lot to me. Seven years ago, I was using my bare hands, and being able to design a gadget that could modify this was mind blowing.”

*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.