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Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School
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New Zealand Diploma In Costume Construction

This course is available


Level of Study



2 years

Next start date

Expected Jul 2024


Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School


The New Zealand Diploma in Costume Construction is the only tertiary course in New Zealand that specialises in costume construction for stage and screen. The course is taught by some of New Zealand’s best industry professionals and aims to provide students with skills in all forms of costume construction and production. This will lead to employment in film, theatre and allied industries. Costume students have the opportunity to collaborate with the New Zealand School of Dance on their major performance events as well as being actively involved in most shows, films and performance projects at Toi Whakaari. In addition, the annual Costume Showcase exists to present the graduating costumiers’ work in a live performance event.

Course Information

The Diploma is a full-time, two year, vocational and highly practical course covering all aspects of costume work. The second year involves students undertaking industry secondments with professional performing arts organisations in their particular area of interest. This includes areas like film, commercials and theatre.

Costume Construction students must be 18 years of age by the first day of the first term – there is no upper age limit. Applications are invited from candidates of all backgrounds, with or without prior costume experience.

Year 1

  • Core Sewing Technique
  • Flat Pattern-Making
  • Millinery, Costume Props and Accessories
  • Costume Construction for Productions and Events
  • Costume Design Process
  • Costume History
  • Costume Dyeing, Printing and Finishing
  • Costume Textiles and Technology
  • Context and Practice

Year 2

  • Advanced Millinery
  • Costume for Dance
  • Corsetry and Undergarments
  • Leather, Worbla and EVA foam
  • Tailoring
  • Costume construction for Productions and Events
  • Costume Workshop Management
  • Independent Research Project (Major Work)
  • Industry Secondment

Career Pathways

The NZ Diploma in Costume Construction is designed to provide graduates who may enter the workforce as an employee, freelance or self-employed practitioner in roles such as:

  • Costume Maker
  • Costume Supervisor
  • Costume Stylist
  • Costume Stand-by
  • Costume Design Associate
  • Costume Prop or Soft Prop Maker
  • Milliner
  • Buyer
  • Costume Textile Artist (costume ageing and distressing, dyeing and printing etc.)

Entry criteria

Students must be at least 18 years by the first day of the first term of the course. There is no upper age limit.

English Language Proficiency

IELTS test – Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5

TOEFL Internet based test (iBT) - Score of 60 (with a writing score of 18)

NZCEL - Level 4 with the Academic endorsement

Pearson Test of English (Academic) – PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score less than 42

Language Cert - C1 Expert IESOL (LRWS) with PASS and no less than Pass in each skill

Trinity ISE - ISE II with no less than distinction in any band

OET – Minimum of Grade C or 200 in all subtests

Cambridge English Qualifications - B2 First or B2 First for schools, or C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill

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