More accolades for Tongan drum design


Industrial design graduate Rachael Hall with her ECC Studnet Craft/ Design Awards for her design of an electronic tunable Tongan drum


The contemporary Tongan drum design Pato.

Design graduate Rachael Hall’s contemporary Tongan drum Pato has been making a lot of noise in design circles this year and she can now add two new accolades to her list of awards.

She was shortlisted for the WGSN and Arts Thread Future Creator Award (Melbourne) for graduate designers in Australia and New Zealand, and earlier this month won the Supreme prize at the ECC NZ Student Craft/ Designs Awards.

Pato, which means “to strike or hit,” is an electronic tuneable and portable log drum that brings the sound of the Pacific into the modern digital environment.

It has already proven a hit with the design sector. In October Ms Hall, who is half Tongan, was presented with a Red Dot Award in Singapore by global design award agency Red Dot and was a gold award winner at the Design Institute of New Zealand Best Awards.

In addition to her supreme award at the ECC ceremony, which was run by the Friends of the Dowse and encourages innovation and creativity in design and art, Ms Hall was also presented with the ECC Furniture and Product Design Award and People’s Choice Award, collectively earning her $4000 in prize money.

She was inspired to design her multi-award-winning drum by a desire to connect to her Polynesian heritage.

“I wanted to rejuvenate an instrument that’s not so recognised anymore and introduce it to the modern digital environment where it can be appreciated and adapted by a range of musicians and blended with other instruments and genres.”

Pato has an internal pick-up which means it can be hooked up to modern technology but still allows the natural timbre of the traditional lall to come through. The streamlined design incorporates the pale maple wood with darker walnut end caps engraved with a ring of Tongan motifs.

Ms Hall who graduated from Massey university last year, and currently works with the Massey Industrial Design programme. She would like to see Pato manufactured and is keen to continue designing for the music industry.

Oher Massey winners at the ECC awards were industrial design graduate Josh Bruderer who won the EEC Lighting Award with io Lamp in which the lamp switch is a focal point of the design and textile designer Greta Menzies who won the Rembrandt fashion and Textile Award for her Conversational Skins which transforms into a garment of multiple uses.

Fellow College of Creative Arts graduates Carla Molyneaux (spatial design), Emily Bulkley (spatial design), Gabrielle Mudford (textile design), Joshua Lewis (spatial design) and Kate Fisher (fashion design) were shortlisted for the WGSN and Arts Thread Future Creator Award (Melbourne) too.

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