Our History: 1993

Growth in both staff and students continued at Whitireia in 1993, a year which also saw the birth of full-time creative writing and publishing programmes

Whitireia Porirua Staff 1996

Whitireia Porirua Staff in the early nineties, with Turoa Royal front row centre, flanked by Deirdre Dale and Val Collins.

Artists in residence

As part of its emphasis on cultural art practice, the art department at Whitireia played host to two artists in residence in 1993, both from Ireland. Sculptor Marian O'Donnell arrived first, followed by painter Hugh McCormick. With the assistance of students, Marian O'Donnell built a stone sculpture called Ceide Beag ('small place of assembly') outside the Visual Arts department, creating a European counterpart to the marae space already there, and the Pacific-styled file that would be built the following year. The earthwork adopted the shape of a type of 2000-year-old Celtic jewellery, rendered large on the landscape in hard Plimmerton stone, and united with the earth by having its sloping edges sown in lawn grass. Bronze pieces on the steps leading to Ceide Beag were the work of Visual Arts students, each reflecting their culture. On one of them, students Whare McColl Baxter and James Harcourt combined their respective Māori and Celtic inspired imagery.

Marian Odonnell opening 1993Opening of Marian O'Donnell's Ceide Beag, attended by arts staff and students, Turoa Royal, Deirdre Dale, Ihakara Arthur and others

In the news

Polytechnic offers full and part-time study
Kapi Mana 19.01.1993

Continuing with education at Whitireia Community Polytechnic this year can involve study on a wide range of short part-time courses or the possibility of full or part-time study towards a longer nationally recognised certificate.

For 1993 the programme of short courses specifically for women has been expanded (appropriately for Women's Suffrage Year). Looking Ahead is a course for women thinking about their future. The course includes assessing skills, organising time, setting goals, improving study skills, becoming familiar with computers, further education and voluntary work. Other courses for women include Creativity and Challenge, a course combining art and outdoor pursuits with Plimmerton artist Val Griffith-Jones; Videotaping Skills for Women, with filmmaker Gaylene Preston; Women's Lives, a writing/reading course with Frances Cherry; as well as other alternatives such as Computer Confidence for Women.

New full-time study opportunities this year include the museum/gallery foundation course focusing on the care and presentation of local taonga or artefacts; and a publishing course in conjunction with Daphne Brasell Press Associates. 

Assembled in stone
The Dominion 11.03.1993

Back in Ireland in the weeks preceding St Patrick's Day, sculptor Marian O'Donnell would have been roped in to help design and build the floats that are a feature of every village parade. Artist in residence at Porirua's Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Ms O'Donnell has been engaged in a very different work, a Ceide Beag (small place of assembly), an earthwork construction modelled on ancient field systems discovered in her home county Mayo.

The basic image of the Whitireia quadrangle piece is of a 2000-year-old type of Celtic jewellery. The structure is pierced together with hard Plimmerton stone. To unite with the surroundings, the sloping circumference will be sown in the lawn; the design of bronze pieces above facing steps will reflect the culture of the local polytechnic students.

Marian O'Donnell at Whitireia 1993

Marian O'Donnell working on the earthwork at the Whitireia art department, 1993

Irish artist in residence
Evening Post 05.07.1993, by Georgina Bailey, Porirua reporter

A man who describes himself as one of Ireland's major artists has arrived at Porirua's Whitireia Community Polytechnic. Hugh McCormick, 49, is one of two Irish artists in residence who will be at the community polytechnic this year.

McCormick will look at the possibility of affiliation between the polytechnic and the Galway Regional Technical Colleges. Arts programme manager Anne Philbin said this could result in student exchanges by 1994. This would allow students of Celtic origins to study close to Connemara, where Gaelic is the first language.

McCormick and artist Marian O'Donnell, who arrives next month, have been brought to Whitireia to assist the School of Arts' Origins programme. Ms Philbin said the programme focused on authentic Māori, Samoan and Gaelic language studies. 

Culinary skills tested and proven
Kapi Mana 12.10.1993

The taste of victory at the Montana Culinary Arts Festival is still sweet for three Whitireia Community Polytechnic students. It was the first time the local polytechnic had entered the festival's student team of the year competition and only a couple of points separated the locals from Hutt Valley Polytech's winning team. Whitireia programme manager Selwyn Thomson said he knew Tim Sisarich, Barton Bromley and James Rangihaeata would do well and was thrilled with the end result.

There were 26 Whitireia students taking part in different festival events. Whitireia, which sent a smaller team to last year's event, won a total of 22 medals through team and individual efforts.