Set & Props Construction


Set & Props Construction

Set & Props Construction

Toi Waihanga

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New Zealand Diploma in Scenic Construction & Properties

The New Zealand Diploma of Scenic Construction and Properties is a two-year programme that equips students with a comprehensive foundation in constructing sets and properties for the world of live and screen arts. With a limited intake of up to 12 students annually, this programme ensures a rich learning experience to nurture individual growth and professional development. Combining artistic craftsmanship with technical expertise, this programme places a strong emphasis on practical skills and cultivating a creative mindset. Through hands-on experience working on live productions, engaging in skill-based projects and industry internships; students refine their technical abilities, explore their creativity, and gain valuable insights into the construction and crafting processes for live and screen arts.


"All the courses at Toi Whakaari mirror industry practice creating a close connection and deep understanding of the arts industry. The Set & Props diploma helps foster the students into fully fledged practitioners; you develop craft skills as well as the ability to problem-solve and collaborate with others. The excellent facilities ensure that you graduate with a wide range of experience and proficiency in various materials and techniques. Whether you end up working on smaller theatre productions, bigger film sets, or in other creative pursuits, your time at Toi Whakaari will undoubtedly help you cultivate a strong creative voice.

Fil Kopelman, Graduate 2019

Course Information

The New Zealand Diploma of Scenic Construction is a two-year program that provides a comprehensive foundation in constructing sets and properties for the live and screen arts industry.

Year 1:‍

  • Construction, Materials and Processes: Construction methods and processes, finishing techniques, interpreting design briefs, visual communication, safe working practices.
  • Production Practice  
  • Critical studies – analysis of screen and live arts  

Year 2:

  • Production Practice  
  • Advanced Skills workshops
  • Industry Internship
  • Self-directed research topic

School year

Feb - Nov


2 years

NZQA Accreditation

Level 6

Domestic fees

For 2024 NZ$8,493 per year

International fees

For 2024 NZ$29,458 per year

Application Process

***Applications for entry in 2025 will open on Friday 24 MAY 2024*** Entry to the New Zealand Diploma of Scenic Construction and Properties is by application, portfolio and interview. We welcome ambitious individuals who can identify and seize opportunities to make a positive impact in the arts sector to apply.

Personal Statement Info:

We invite all applicants to submit a Personal Statement that shares their personal experiences and values, motivations, and aspirations:

  • Drawing on your own lived experience, can you describe your personal background and share any significant cultural or artistic influences that have shaped your values and worldview
  • What are your aspirations for personal and artistic growth during your time at Toi Whakaari?
  • Why have you chosen to study at Toi Whakaari? Please provide some context regarding your interest in live and screen arts, and how you see yourself as a future practitioner in this field?

Referees: As part of our application process, we kindly request that applicants provide one reference. The referee should be an individual who can offer insights into the applicant's character or skills or experiences.

Portfolio Info:

For the application process, we accept digital portfolios only: Website address, PDF, PowerPoint, or Google Slides formats are preferable. 

Your portfolio should serve as a reflection of your artistic skills. You can include work produced from school projects, professional engagements, community involvements or personal artistic pursuits. A compelling portfolio will showcase both your creative process and the final outcomes, allowing us to observe your ability to conceptualise, develop, and refine ideas through drawings, images, videos/films, or creative projects. While it is not necessary to exclusively present work for live or screen productions, we encourage you to emphasise your creativity and passion for the arts through a diverse range of works or projects. 

Here are some suggested examples to include in your portfolio: 

·        Production photographs or film stills from the works you have created or assisted with. 

·        Photographs, drawings, sketches, paintings, renderings, illustrations (both hand-drawn and digital). 

·        Documentation of your process, including development, rough sketches, annotations, and initial concepts. 

·        Any making projects, such as models and sculptures. 

·        Additional items that you believe demonstrate your potential and reflect your unique artistic identity. 

Remember, quality and depth of work are more important than quantity. Aim to showcase at least five pieces of work or projects that highlight your artistic capabilities effectively. 

Career Pathways

Possible occupations that Sets & Props can enter include: 

  • Set or Scenic Carpenter
  • Scenic Welder/Metal Fabricator
  • Scenic Artist/Paint Special Effects
  • Props Maker
  • Scenic Sculptor
  • Film Art Department – Offset and Stand-by
  • Exhibition and Event Display 
  • Property Construction and Finishing
  • Model Maker
  • Soft Prop and Costume Prop Maker
  • Visual Effects and Prosthetic Special Effects
  • Puppet Maker
  • Prototyping for Industrial Design

“My dream has always been to create wings and my time studying at Toi has been invaluable for building up my skills and growing relationships.This has resulted in an invitation to work in the states with a professional wing maker. The experience of studying at Toi will continue to guide me on my path forward for many more years to come”. Photo credit: Heaps of Pics Photography.

Lotte van Ginkel, Graduate 2019

The Set & Props course supported me in my 2nd year as I produced my first short film. Through the culture of the Kura I had the opportunity to collaborate with both students and professionals from different disciplines while making “Excavation Point Thestias”. I was challenged to understand and integrate my collaborators skills into my vision. It pushed me to be a better maker and artist, but most importantly a clear communicator. These experiences at Toi Whakaari continue to serve me in the industry.

Fil Kopelman, Graduate 2019