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Makers NZ portal is up and open for business!

Several  months ago, at the Wellington Web Meetup[WWM] (http://www.meetup.com/wellingtonweb) I presented a talk on Making Things Happen. My goal was to inspire like minded folk to join me in my efforts to build a strong, coalesced community of digital creators (Makers) in NZ. Digital creators broadly speaking, describes those who like to design, create & manufacture using the tools now available to us in the digital age. There are those out there with a design back ground who think about making all the time, but then there are those out there who never studied design, but yet somehow look at objects all the time and think, “I could have made that!”,” I think I could make that a little better if..” or ” I want to see what happens if I..”. I don’t believe there should be a disconnect between those groups, and that the cross over between then seems be haphazard. Wonderful creative alliances are left to chance.

Creating a social, face to face or online meeting place would help bring these connections to reality.

All of us feel the sense of achievement when we create something, we feel connected to the end result and we understand more about ourselves and needs afterwards. We won’t stamp out consumerism by telling people its “wrong”, but giving people the opportunity to create something as functional as an off-the-shelf product but with the personal connection will, over time, steer people away from the current consumption model.

As technology progresses, so too will the availability of tools. For now – some of the tools that spring to mind are personal computers, CNC cutters, laser cutters, 3d printers, embedded computer systems. The list goes on, the tools are less significant when the aim is to facilitate making and get people “doing” rather than “consuming”. But it is worth recognising that the proliferation of these tools is turning every-day people into designers/manufacturers/creators/makers. Removing the financial limitations of manufacturing that existed  before gives people more opportunity to explore what is possible, rather than simple take what they are given.

But this portal isn’t about ending anything – its about Making. Creating. Doing. Sharing.

It has been 3 months since the talk at WWM  and here are here is the portal I’ve set up to cater for said community. In the last few months I’ve met countless people who are making cool stuff, pipelining cool projects or looking for others with the resources to help them realise a dream. I will profile some of those people on this site, I will document their projects so other s may learn and I will invite anyone who likes to contribute to this site. It is only when you begin to scratch the surface that you realise how deep the maker movement goes. There are those who see personal fabrication as a future industry that may very well be a new ” industrial age”. Some even recognise personal fabrication as mankind’s opportunity to step away from mass manufacturing and move towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly demandufacturing( creating objects to meet the demand of individuals rather than general “markets”).

But before we get caught up in the philosophy of it all, I’d like to focus on how we #makeThingsHappen! I’d like to grow the community so we know what cool stuff is going on out there, I’d like to bring people together so that unimagined cool projects kick off.

If the above strikes a chord or if you have any thoughts on this then please feel free to get in touch or leave a comment.


Richard Fortune


Comments ( 6 )
  • Tom Kluyskens says:

    Hey Richard, great initiative and sweet looking website.

    We’re on the verge of a great new convergence of culture and technology: the time when our digital skills can affordably and efficiently be applied to physical reality. The (re-)democratization of manufacturing.

    It’s initialives like these that are the food for this movement.

  • Sue says:

    I just love your thinking :)

    More philosophy: How can we make the world a better place & save the planet rather than destroying it, produce less waste & recycle more, live happier with less and therefore more intense and earn money with what we love to do/were born to do..

    “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” (Howard Thurman)

  • Glenn Berry says:

    Thanks for all the support Richard. Would love to hear from an expert user like yourself. Let me know if I can be of any help.
    Glenn Berry
    Community Coordinator
    MakerBot Industries

  • Mike Paauwe says:

    Hi Richard,
    I always knew that I got immense satisfaction from making things. The learning of new skills, putting things together and making something new out of something old. I always knew that making it was half the fun.

    I think the world is coming full circle and learning again things that have been forgotten. That we are creative beings and the urge to make things is there in all of us. Whether it is baking a cake, painting the spare room or designing the next big thing. It’s all fulfilling the same basic urge to express ourselves.

    I’ve been creating in the digital realm lately, setting up a website at makershop.co.nz to help others to build and make their own things.
    I have big visions for the website but it’s a small start at the moment.

  • David Mead says:

    Hi Richard,
    I am setting up a workshop in Onehunga from which I will be teaching the skills of Furniture making. Associated with this will be all of my knowledge about wood and timber and trees et al. By this I mean , I have been playing with timber since I was three. I am a qualified cabinet maker. An ex teacher of Woodwork and Technical Drawing for 16 years.I had 3 and 1/2 years experience in an architects office upon first leaving college.I have had considerable experience in the Super Yacht industry. I have been self employed since leaving teaching in 1987.

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