Petone: to shoot or study

When Petone Groom finished school he was faced with a tough choice: pursue professional sport like his brother and sister or leap into university. He chose to challenge himself by enrolling into university and is currently in his third year of a degree in Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington.



Growing up in the seaside suburb of Lyall Bay in Wellington, Petone played representative basketball at college and had the option of continuing with a sporting career once he left school.


However with supportive parents, who would back him no matter his choice, Petone says he was keen to do something new for himself and for the family to see what is possible.


“So I chose to go to university.


“I was the first in my family to choose that option, while my brother and sister have chosen to follow sports.”


At school, Petone was very focused on playing sport, while drawing was something he enjoyed doing in his spare time.


“Graphic design was my best subject at school– probably because I really enjoyed it,” he says, “I’ve always been interested in how things are built, so it’s been great to study Industrial Design and hopefully turn that passion into a career.”


Petone loves the location of Victoria’s Faculty of Architecture and Design in downtown Wellington.


“I’m based at the Te Aro campus in the heart of the city, right next to Cuba Street, he explains.


“It’s a buzzing place with lots of cafes and shops and interesting people.


“We also have a basketball court right outside the Design School, which I enjoy using with my friends when we need some time out from studying.”


Although coming to university challenged him at first, Petone says it has opened his mind in a way he never imagined.


“The lecturers really push your thinking – they give you a project and there are no right or wrong answers, so there’s a lot of freedom,” he says.


“I quickly learnt that it’s all about thinking for yourself – it’s helped me become very independent and is very motivating.


“The Industrial Design programme pushes the limits of what’s possible, and we get hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies, including 3D printing,”


Petone says you can design anything using 3D printing – medical tools, furniture, sports equipment and you get to explore different processes and a range of materials, “It’s really exciting”.


“The lecturers are experts from all over the world. I’ve met a lot of different people and been exposed to new and amazing ideas, which have really helped me to see what the possibilities are, both locally and globally.”


In his first year, Petone was mentored through Victoria’s Te Ropu Awhina programme and is now a mentor himself.


“Being mentored was really valuable to me, so it’s great to be able to give back. I get to help first-year students with their design work and see them grow in their skills and confidence.”


Petone says he enjoys the creative process that is central to industrial design.


“It’s a balance between learning the technical aspects of design and developing your creativity alongside that.


“I love the idea that I’m taking something from my mind, putting it on paper or into a computer programme, and then turning that into a physical object. You get to give people that object, which started in your imagination.


“The design process is a way for me to tell my personal story and be able to share it with the world.”





Come and see us at one of our information evenings and find out everything you need to know about study at Victoria University of Wellington.


Wellington Tuesday 9 May


Gisborne Thursday 15 June


Palmerston North Wednesday 10 May


Tauranga Tuesday 20 June


Whanganui Thursday 11 May


Rotorua Wednesday 21 June


Nelson Tuesday 30 May


Hamilton Thursday 22 June*


New Plymouth Tuesday 30 May


Christchurch Tuesday 27 June*


Dunedin Wednesday 31 May


Auckland Central Tuesday 4 July*


North Shore Wednesday 7 June


Wellington Thursday 19 October


Northland Thursday 8 June


Hawke’s Bay Wednesday 14 June


* Early-bird Pasifika sessions will be running in these areas; check the Victoria website for details

Venues and times can be found at