High-tech engineering lab opens at Waikato

Students at the University of Waikato have better access to state-of-the-art learning tools with the opening of a brand-new building on the Hamilton campus.

12 Jul 2023

Mata-Tina, the Large Scale Laboratory for Engineering, opens at the University of Waikato, blessed by the University’s kaumātua, Koro Taki Turner

On Friday, Te Kura Mata-Ao - School of Engineering opened its doors to Mata-Tina, an $8 million building extension providing additional facilities for student project work and capstone projects.

Mata-Tina is an extension of an existing building called the Large Scale Laboratory. It offers more project-based and ‘hands-on’ learning facilities, including a machine shop, woodwork area, welding bay, concrete manufacturing area, social space and a mezzanine that will shortly become a 24-hour prototyping lab for students.

Emphasising the School’s longstanding commitment to hands-on learning, Professor Mike Duke, the Dean of Engineering says the new facility will elevate experiential learning and create a vibrant community that reunites engineering.

“Together, we will do great things with this space,” Professor Duke says.

Dean of Engineering, Professor Mike Duke, is excited about the future of Engineering at Waikato.

Discussions to expand the building began in 2017 after it became apparent the original lab couldn’t keep up with demand.

“The Lab was modified internally and project space expanded to cope with classes of over 100. However, this meant the workshop and project space had to be moved temporarily to the Ruakura satellite campus.

“With Mata-Tina now finished, all the facilities will be co-located, creating a far better-integrated learning environment.”

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student, Rojena Fuentes, is excited about the new building.

"Having a space like this is awesome. We're now connected with all areas of engineering, promoting collaboration and facilitating a deeper understanding of the School,” Rojena says.

“It encourages collective genius, which is incredibly important in the industry. It will boost our quality and attract more aspiring engineers.”

The space yet to be fitted with machines available for students' use.

Blessed by the University’s kaumātua, Koro Taki Turner, the School and building were also gifted te reo Māori names by Dr Te Kahautu Maxwell and Professor Tom Roa.

The School, named Te Kura Mata-Ao, signifies innovation that guides our future, while the building, Mata-Tina, represents a learning space creating communities and turning ideas into reality.

'Mata’ means face, to look at something, to gaze into the future and ‘ao’ means pathways. For the building, 'mata' refers to a laboratory, signifying a place that seeks remedies. 'Tina' means to make something firm, to make something tangible.

As the third-largest engineering school in the country, eight internationally accredited engineering degree programmes make up the qualification at Waikato, including civil and mechanical engineering, and mechatronics.

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