Our History: 1990

Whitireia continued to grow as it entered the nineties, with a student roll that rose to 624 equivalent full-time students and a teaching staff of 78 full time and 93 part-time tutors

Changes brought about by the Hawke Report and the resulting Education Amendment Act 1990 meant that Whitireia, like all tertiary institutions in New Zealand, became a body corporate with an obligation to produce a charter, a corporate plan and an annual report. There were changes for Turoa Royal too, who due to this shift from a collegial to a corporate approach, became a chief executive officer, instead of a director. 

Stepping into Kāpiti

Twenty-two years before Whitireia took up residence on the corner of Kapiti Road and Milne Drive, Whitireia had an early foray into Paraparaumu, setting up a temporary campus just down the road from the site of the future Kāpiti campus. Two rooms in the old Lucas Print building on Te Roto Drive provided a home to a full-time office assistant course during the day, and an accounting module, part of the National Certificate in Business Studies, in the evening.

The new campus was officially opened on 19 July, with staff from Porirua in attendance, and with Jan Watkins, Head of Business Studies, on hand to welcome the new students, who she described as pioneer women. She noted that it was "a modest beginning but we are very keen to increase the number of courses we can offer in Paraparaumu, and we now have the space in which to do this." Tutor Helen Gardiner was optimistic, predicting that her students would be looking for jobs at the end of the course, and saying she was looking forward to employers contacting her.

At the time, chief executive Turoa Royal spoke with cautious optimism about the Kāpiti location, saying that more land and buildings were planned for the future. "The Minister of Education has been given an extra $100 million for tertiary institutions and we hope some will come our way. The Kāpiti  Coast is growing rapidly and I believe we have to grow with it. We are going to need something like 40 acres of land to provide for growth."

Origins at Page 90

The relationship between Whitireia visual arts and Porirua museums and galleries, which had begun with a whakairo exhibition at the Takapūwāhia-based Porirua museum in 1987, continued in 1990 at Page 90. Run by the Mana Community Arts Council, Page 90  (a portmanteau of Porirua Art Gallery Events 1990) was based on the corner of Parumoana and Norrie streets, in a site that would become Pataka Art + Museum in 1998 when the gallery combined with the relocated Porirua Museum.

When Page 90 opened in 1990, the inaugural exhibition was Origins by staff and students from the Whitireia National Certificate in Craft and Design. The work in the exhibition was the fruits of a similarly named brief developed by programme leader Anne Philbin which invited students to investigate their cultural background, with the resulting work having a strong Māori, Pacific Island or Celtic flavour. The Origins concept would continue to be a core tenant of the Visual Arts programme in the resulting years, being incorporated into the eventual Bachelor of Applied Arts and being extended to other areas of the arts faculty. 

A painting created by Anne Philbin in May/June as part of Origins that year perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the programme, interweaving siapo, Māori and Celtic elements. "It followed my first visit to Samoa and my first visit to my own tūrangawaewae, Aigle, County Mayo, Ireland," said Anne. "The panel on the right represents the Gaelic side of things - refers to the four counties (the Republic, of course) and infinite loyalty." In the central panel, Anne paid tribute to  Te Puoho Katene and his role in the art department from its inception. "The one in the middle is a reference to Te Puoho Katene and his wife Frances, who kept us all going in the early days. The outside kowhaiwhai is fairly normal and tuturu. The centre is irregular and airy to show how the Katenes and Ngāti Toa kaumātua, in general, have always been flexible and welcoming." The work previously hung in the Russell Marshall Library at the Porirua campus and now hangs permanently in Te Kete Wānanga. 

Anne Philbin Triptych Panel 1990Anne Philbin Triptych Panel 1990

One of the students showcasing her work in Origins was nineteen years old Lucy Faiaoga, who was a little apprehensive about exhibiting publicly for the first time but was ready for the challenge. "There's a lot of work in the art of setting up an exhibition and I don't think people fully realise this - I think the feedback will be good."

Mana Community Arts Council leader Te Puoho Katene led the dual opening of Page 90 and the Origins exhibition, with 200-300 people in attendance to see work from five tutors and 34 students. In the first week, about 1500 people visited the gallery to see the exhibition. "We had anticipated a good response and are well pleased with the attendance figure," said tutor Rozel Pharazyn. "People came from the Kāpiti Coast, Wellington and the Wairarapa as well as from the local community."

In the news

National Certificate in Business Studies
Te Awa-iti 01.06.1990

People wishing to qualify for careers in business and commerce can take the first step by enrolling for the National Certificate in Business Studies course which begins at Whitireia Community Polytechnic on July 9. The NCB is a two-year full-time course, but many of the students taking it are part-timers who are either working or bringing up children. It is a nationally recognised course run at Polytechnics throughout New Zealand.

An NCB class is usually an exciting mixture of young and mature students from various cultural backgrounds. In addition to school leavers, there are men and women taking the course on a part-time basis. Some of them are given study time during the day by their employers; others attend classes in the evening. There are also women preparing to return to the workforce after several years of childcare.

When Whitireia first opened in 1986 there were 15 full-time students taking NCB. In 1990, despite the government raising the tertiary education fees, there are 50 full-time students and 25 part-timers. This is the fourth year that the course has been offered. NCB is a tertiary qualification in its own right. It is also the route to more advanced professional qualifications.

After completing the NCB, students can study for another two years full time for the National Diploma in Accounting, the NDA, which replaces the old ACA qualification.

Samoan Landscape
Contact 22.06.1990 

Ioane Unasa was a machine operator until he decided there was a brighter future in art. Next weekend, along with other students and staff from Porirua's Whitireia Polytechnic art department, his paintings will go on the show. The exhibition of Māori, Pacific and Celtic based art runs from June 30 to July 7 at the Page 90 Gallery - behind Porirua's district court.

This is not for Ioane Unasa the first step into the world of professional art. He decided to make art his career when he found there was a demand for his paintings among the Samoan community. The painting he's putting the finishing touches to is of his home village, Faga Savaii, which he left 20 years ago when he was 18 years old.

Page 90 Success
Te Awa-iti 12.07.1990

The Origins exhibition by the students and tutors of Whitireia Polytechnic is expected to attract upwards of 2000 people by the end of the week. Sales of several items have been made from Porirua's new art gallery, and comments from the public have been very supportive Te Awa-iti was told. The present exhibition will continue until July 22. 

Polytechnic starts Kāpiti 'campus'
Te Awa-iti 09.07.1990

The first full-time study option offered by Whitireia Community Polytechnic at Paraparaumu starts on July 16. This is the first stage of the polytechnic's plan to establish a campus at Paraparaumu and so provide better access to tertiary education for more people in its community which extends from Tawa to Waikanae. The foundation course at Paraparaumu will be a business studies "office assistant" course. This is a half-year course which has proved to be one of the most popular at the polytechnic and in the past has attracted a lot of students from the Paraparaumu area. It is designed to place graduates in employment as typists, receptionist/typists, and clerical/typists with knowledge of word processing.