TPP jade carving student wins national award 

Sarah Harvey 1 fixed

Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) Jade and Hard Stone Carving student Sarah Harvey has won national recognition at the ECC NZ Student Craft/Design Awards 2019.

Ms Harvey was shortlisted as a finalist for her work, Suspension, a jade neck adornment inspired by the engineering principles of the suspension bridge. The awards ceremony was held last night (Tuesday 12 November 2019) and Suspension won both The Village Goldsmith Jewellery Design Award and the ECC People’s Choice Award.

“It has been such a wonderful experience – I was both excited and humbled to win both categories and it’s really given me a great start to a career in carving,” she says.

The ECC NZ Student Craft/Design Awards are hosted by The Friends of The Dowse Art Museum, who have been supporting New Zealand tertiary education since 1986. The awards are designed to encourage innovation and creativity specifically in the areas of design and craft. The Friends of The Dowse offer these awards to provide an opportunity for students to step into creative industries with a coveted award to their name, and to gain financial assistance.

As well as the award prize, Ms Harvey says the fact that her work has been nationally recognised, along with the associated networking and publicity, is invaluable to her future.

“I’ve been a self-taught artist for a few years, but it wasn’t until I took the leap and enrolled in TPP’s jade carving programme two years ago that I started formal training and focusing on my art work full time.

“I've always loved art and sculpture and, while growing up in the UK, spent a lot of time visiting art galleries with my family. Since moving to the West Coast 12 years ago, I’ve regularly attended the annual Jade Exhibition and I’ve always thought I’d like to do the course one day.

“A good friend of mine was doing it part-time and let me have a go on her grinding wheel. I loved it! So I took a leap, jacked-in my job and started the course. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much. Winning the design and people’s choice awards is a wonderful validation of the work I’ve put in and what I’ve learned so far.”

Ms Harvey is setting up her own workshop and will be looking to make a career from her carving. She has set up an Instagram page since becoming a finalist in the Awards to help leverage the publicity and connections she’s making.

TPP Tutor Sheree Warren says Sarah has been a joy to teach. “With her natural talent and interest in Art and Design, she has embraced the new programme and stretched it to its full capacity. She has developed her own style using research to inspire unique and contemporary designs. We are very proud of her achievement and hope that she will be an inspiration for future students on the programme. Sarah is a perfect example of where stone carving as a medium can go”

“It’s also a great recognition for our carving programme and the fantastic graduates we turn-out each year. With recent modifications to the programme, we’ve brought a greater focus on design and that’s really showing in students’ work. You can have a look at some of their work at our annual exhibition that kicks- off this Friday night.”

TPP’s Jade Exhibition started this Friday with a launch event. You can visit the show at the Westland Recreation Centre from 16 – 29 November, see more at


For more information contact:

Mequa Hourston, Leader – Engagement
DDI: 03 7699 405 | Mobile: 027 237 5844 | email: