New building boosts partnership

8 February 2010

A new building to be unveiled at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s Windermere Campus in Tauranga on February 11 marks a new stage in the partnership between the polytechnic and the University of Waikato.

The $4.6 million partnership building, which has been partially funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, will be formally opened by the Māori King, King Tuheitia.

The two institutions have worked together for more than a decade to increase tertiary education options in the Western Bay of Plenty.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the new building will allow the institutions to better deliver on their commitment to excellence in all aspects of tertiary education in Tauranga.

“Co-locating our staff will boost our partnership, and allow us to achieve the scale and standard of intellectual output necessary to drive innovation, entrepreneurialism and productivity in one of the country’s fastest-growing regional economies.”

The new building is named after the distinguished educator and community leader Dr Maharaia Winiata (Ngati Ranginui, Bay of Plenty). His work with Māori in the Waikato region saw him form lasting bonds with the Kingitanga movement, including joining the council of the then Māori King Koroki.

Dr Winiata (1912-1960) was the first Māori to gain an overseas PhD, as a Nuffield Scholar studying at Edinburgh University in the 1950s. “Dr Winiata’s passion for education and bettering the lives of Māori was a lifelong commitment,” says Dr Alan Hampton, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Chief Executive.

“This building honours his aim to achieve the education of Māori as a whole, an aim to which he devoted most of his short life. Dr Winiata embodies everything our partnership seeks to address for the next millennium – the provision of quality education for all New Zealanders, establishing ourselves as leaders in the education of our community, and motivating future generations.”

Dr Winiata’s namesake and brother to King Tuheitia, Maharaia Paki, currently represents Tainui on the University of Waikato Council.

The two-storey Maharaia Building, designed by Chow Hill, is located across the road from the main Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Windermere campus. The light and airy atrium reaches the full height of the building, which contains offices and several large conference rooms. The new building will also provide study space for post-graduate students.

Also unveiled on the day will be a specially commissioned artwork by local artist, polytechnic graduate Maraea Timutimu.