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Leilani Tunnage

Diploma in Furniture Design and Making Graduate

Diploma in Furniture Design and Making Graduate

Leilani Tunnage has an eye for design and now has the skills to make her designs a reality.

Graduating from the two year Diploma in Furniture Design and Making at UCOL with a variety of awards under her belt, Leilani has a promising future ahead of her.

“This UCOL [Diploma in Furniture Design and Making] programme gives you the skills – all you need is the motivation and inspiration to make amazing furniture.”

Leilani found that the harder she worked, the more she was able to gain from the programme with lecturers challenging students to push past boundaries.

“Our instructors were really supportive in helping us to find solutions to problems, encouraging us to be inventive and take initiative which really helped to extend our skills”.

Whilst completing her qualification, Leilani had the opportunity to enter the National Woodskills competition twice, in her second year placing first in the Pinus Radiata open category. She won this award for her detailed pine longboard, competing against industry professionals.

Leilani also won the Best Craftsperson Award at the Student City Art and Cultural Awards last year, demonstrating that the skills gained through her programme have paid off. 

 “I started this programme for fun, but I’m loving it and want to make a career out of it now”.

After sourcing equipment from overseas, Leilani has now set up her company Designpilot, which she runs from a workshop in Auckland. She specialises in making high end furniture and original designed products like longboards, cajons and any other timber items that take her or her clients fancy. 


Design Pilot, based in Auckland, New Zealand, designs and makes art that has purpose in day to day life, such as furniture, instruments and other timber items. The company prides itself on an intimiate affinity with materials and an excellent knowledge of engineering. 

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