The Pā
Māu, māku, mā tātou katoa

The University of Waikato’s innovative and versatile new facility, The Pā, will transform the on-campus experience for students, staff, visitors and the broader community.

Where: Replacing W Block and the lightweight prefabs alongside it (see map).

When: Preparation from mid-2019, construction from October/November 2019

Prime land in the heart of the Hillcrest campus provides the site for The Pā complex, from A Block to Hillcrest Road, and along the main campus walkway from the upper level of the campus to the lower level.

The Pā will include a new main entrance to the campus, a student hub (including food outlets and social learning spaces), and a new University marae. The Pā will also provide the campus with renewed capacity for University and community events and activities.

Features and design

The East-West axis view, from Hillcreat Road with the Pā to the left
The Pā will give our campus a major entry point from Hillcrest Road, seen in this east-to-west view.

The Pā’s design has been developed following feedback and advice from key stakeholders including students, staff, suppliers and iwi. Each had the opportunity to speak to our architects directly to ensure The Pā meets the needs of all who will use it.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub will provide spaces for students to socialise, rest, debate, eat, reheat, and recharge. It will be the year-round home of campus life.

  • Bookable student spaces for seminars, meetings and study groups
  • Retail spaces offering food and beverages
  • A stage for performances, conferences and events
  • Outside areas that include spacious courtyards, easy walkways, and a connection point to all faculties and other facilities on campus.

University marae and wharenui

A new University marae will be located in the heart of The Pā. The marae will be distinctively Waikato, bringing cultural identity and heritage into our everyday activities. It will very much be a University marae for the University community.

The Wharenui (central meeting house) provides the form and inspiration for the entire Pā complex, and combined with the courtyard landscape, will define the new Hillcrest Road Gateway. The Wharenui will also be a premier teaching space, and will accommodate up to 100 people for noho/overnight stays.

Shared space for community and leadership

To complement the Student Hub and the marae/wharenui spaces, The Pā will also bring together other key elements, including:

  • A new Hillcrest Road gateway and community reception – creating a true sense of arrival to the campus
  • A totally refurbished space for the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies
  • A new space for the University executive leadership team.

The concept and design will also allow The Pā to be used for large events including student welcomes and performances, conferences and other University and community celebrations.

Improving Hillcrest campus connections

From Hillcrest Road, The Pā will be the principal campus entrance, creating connection within the Hillcrest campus.

Exterior view of the Pā
The Pā will include connections to other major buildings, including S Block and L Block.

The Pā will be closely aligned with Te Manawa (The Student Centre), and the lecture theatres in S and L Blocks. New connections between these main buildings will let staff and students move around campus more easily in all weather conditions.

Access ways around The Pā will ensure the complex is accessible from all parts of the University. A lift system will greatly improve access between the lower level of the campus and the Hillcrest Road level.

What ‘The Pā’ means

'The Pā' is a reference to the Māori concept of community and location. It signals a complex of community buildings and services that are strategically located and designed to provide cohesiveness and safety for the people who dwell within them.

In the University context, the vision for The Pā is to create a welcoming and vibrant core facility for the Hillcrest campus, incorporating food outlets, social and formal learning spaces, and a new University marae.

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