NZ Diploma in Arts & Design (Ceramics)

Enrolments open now

Enrolments are now open to the NZ Diploma in Arts & Design (Ceramic) on Waiheke Island.


This tertiary qualification programme from the Dunedin School of Arts will continue to be provided by the Gallery. Contact the Director or the front desk for information and enrolment processes.

New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 5) - Ceramics programme

New Zealand's only specialised tertiary programme in Ceramic Arts. 

The Ceramics Studio at Otago Polytechnic is the largest in the country and the department has strong partnerships across the country. This has led to the establishment of six studio locations in Auckland, Waiheke, Hamilton, Otaki, Hawkes Bay and Christchurch where distance students can undertake practical classes. 

This programme has an emphasis on exploration and experimentation. You will develop individual projects which study ceramics as a medium with its own formal language, skills and history, within a broader context of fine arts and crafts.  

Successful completion of this programme could lead to you becoming a successful practising artist, with the ability to understand and use your creativity to contribute significantly to your community.

The transferable skills you gain during this programme will also be highly valued in a variety of fields in the art, education and design sectors.


Location    Distance/online with practical classes in various locations 

Duration    One year full-time; two years part-time

Delivery    Online theory papers with practical classes at various New Zealand locations 

Credits      120

Level:        5

Start:         February 2022

Apply:        until start date


Further Study

  • We will also be offering the New Zealand Diploma in Arts and Design (Level 6)* which Level 5 graduates may wish to transition into to complete further study. The successful completion of the Level 6 programme can then be a step towards our Level 7 Bachelor of Visual Arts degree.

*subject to final approval.

Further detail can be found

Skills Required             

  • Creativity and imagination.
  • The ability to think laterally and independently.
  • To be motivated and have a good work ethic.
  • Confidence and the ability to accept criticism.
  • To be adaptable and open to new ideas.

Entry Requirements

  • Four years of secondary school education, with a minimum of 48 NCEA Level 2 credits across four subjects, OR
  • Equivalent qualifications or experience.  
  • You must demonstrate an interest in art.
  • You are required to complete an interview and submit a portfolio. This must be no larger than 15MB if you are applying online. Please refer to for portfolio requirements.

Programme Delivery

  • Distance – Waiheke – facilitated by the Waiheke Community Art Gallery.
    The distance programme on Waiheke is supervised by approved local ceramists. The programme leader is Penny Ericson, who has been supported by Peter Collis and Brendan Adams.
  • You are required to have access to an appropriate computer, as well as the operating skills to access our online services, as we monitor the course and deliver the Glaze Practical (Level 5), Art Craft History/Theory and Drawing from Otago Polytechnic.

The practical session takes place on Waiheke for one day a week during the programme at a nominated location. 

Pottery wheels are available for the throwing section of the programme and kilns are installed adjacent to the gallery.

Students also need to have their own space to work in.

There is a mid-year assessment and an end of year assessment.  Rob Cloughley from Dunedin who is head of the programme visits Waiheke two or three times a year to work with students and undertake end of year assessments.

Following initial contact with the Gallery, (email: or phone (09) 372 9907 ) prospective students are then put in contact with Otago Polytechnic, to participate in the interview process and make formal application.