Amongst these programmes were some new additions: an introduction to journalism, an advanced certificate in business computing, a certificate in family daycare and a diploma in early childhood group care and education. The most significant programme change, though, was the evolution of the three-year nursing diploma into a full degree.
By 1993, over 1000 students were studying across more than 50 programmes at Whitireia, but the institution was yet to offer a degree-level option in any subject area. This all changed, however, in 1994 after the proposed Bachelor of Nursing received full accreditation from NZQA and the institution’s first-degree students were enrolled.
Nursing had been taught at Whitireia via a three-year diploma since the establishment of the polytechnic in 1986, however, it was widely acknowledged that the quality of work produced by the diploma students was already of a degree standard. In 1990, Whitireia joined a consortium of nursing schools working on developing a degree course, but after 18 months it was decided to go it alone and approval was sought for an autonomous course.
The development of the degree course curriculum, in consultation with NZQA, was extensive and lengthy, but by 1994 Whitireia was able to enrol students in the three year Bachelor of Nursing. The new programme was designed to be unique in a number of ways, including the fostering of a close tutor-student relationship so as to model nurse-client relations, as well as a learning focus on both clinical knowledge and community need.
The first cohort of Whitireia degree students graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing three years later on 23 May 1997. Around 380 people attended the ceremony at Te Akapuanga Hall in Porirua, including visitors from Japan and Tonga. To mark the occasion, students from the Craft Design programme designed special academic regalia for the graduands to wear.
Acting chief executive Val Collins said the new programme had enabled the students to reach their goals more efficiently and to develop excellent general knowledge in nursing. “Whitireia is very proud of its first-degree programme and the success of these students,” she noted.
The Bachelor of Nursing programme would go from strength to strength, producing work-ready graduates who are highly regarded in the industry year after year. In 2004 and 2009 respectively, Whitireia would also add Nursing Pacific and Nursing Māori streams to the programme to equip students with the additional and specific skills necessary to help address comparatively poor health outcomes amongst Pasifika and Māori populations.
Seven years after its creation, the Whitireia Music programme was rewarded with its first purpose-built building. Renamed the Turoa Royal Music Centre on the retirement of the chief executive in 1996, the new building contained band rehearsal/workshop rooms, recording studios, MIDI studio, individual and small group practice rooms, and large teaching spaces. Described as a "fantastic and unique music resource" by programme manager George Packard, the building allowed students to develop into such areas as recording, MIDI technology, band management and jingle and film score writing.
Completed in April, the building was opened on 24 August by singer Annie Crummer, followed in the evening by a concert in the form of the musical Thawango at Mitsubishi Motors, Todd Park.
More than 20 Porirua based students have been given financial assistance to enable them to continue with their educational pursuits. Twenty-two students this year were beneficiaries of the Porirua Licensing Trust Whitireia Community Polytechnics Scholarship Trust which was established in 1987 to commemorate the Trust's 30 years of operation in the district.
The Porirua Licensing Trust put in a total of $40,000 to get the scheme underway and this was increased by $10,000 last year when Countdown Supermarket got behind the project. Some of the students are those with young families who are returning to the workforce and needed a refresher course. Through a variety of circumstances, others have had a change in direction with their career and need to learn new skills. Others are commencing training for the first time.
Whitireia Community Polytechnic Council has agreed to buy 15 acres of land for a campus in Kāpiti. The land is owned by Garton Holdings Ltd and negotiations are underway with stage one of the campus expected to be opened in February 1995. The polytechnic will initially purchase five acres with the option of purchasing a further 10 acres written into the contract. The new campus entrance will be at Milne Drive, near the airfield.
Stage one will allow 200 full-time students enrolled in a range of programmes including business studies, computing, travel and tourism, nanny training, Māori studies and craft design. Whitireia is finalising arrangements with Massey University to offer the first year of a degree in Business Studies at the Kāpiti campus.
Whitireia Polytechnic celebrates opening of new music building
Singer Annie Crummer heads for Whitireia Polytechnic on August 24 to open a purpose-built building for the rock and pop musicians course.
Hard on the heels of the official opening comes a concert, a musical Thawango, at Mitsubishi Motors at 7 pm to which everyone is invited. Those to play include the band South Side of Bombay which did the music for the film Once Were Warriors. Three of the band members are ex-students of the Whitireia course; one band member is a current student.
Completed in April this year, the new building contains band rehearsal/workshop rooms, recording studios, MIDI studio, individual and small group practice rooms, and large teaching spaces. This allows students to develop into such areas as recording, MIDI technology, band management and jingle and film score writing.
Ten Whitireia dance students have been chosen to perform in Kuala Lumpur in May. They are (back row) Ngapoko Karati, Thomas Kiwi, Trayna Teneti (non-travelling reserve), Kahikatoa Matea, Ioane Leota, Trudie Reive, Fiona Collins and John Taufao (front row) Nga Rota, Vailoa Morelli and faculty member Neil Ieremia. The company will perform at the Hilton Hotel during the New Zealand Food Fair. The group performed there last year at an Education Conference. Such was the popularity of the dance company, tutor Gaylene Sciascia has been told the manager of the Hilton said "no Whitireia, no food fair."
The dancers have a tough schedule, with two performances per night, day shows at Malaysian educational facilities, the possibility of promotional work for Tradenz, who helped organise the Food Fair and midnight jazz/funk contemporary shows at the Hilton nightclub. "While we are away, the rest of the students and Te Taumata members will be performing at the Beacons of Hope concert in Wellington. About 10,000 people are expected to attend so it's a big engagement for the students," says Ms Sciascia.
Work by some of the most talented emerging artists in the region will be on display at PAGE90 Artspace in Porirua from 18 November to 15 December. The artists exhibiting in the show, called Last Impression, are the graduates from the Art and Craft Design programme at Whitireia Community Polytechnic.
Eight of the artists have completed the National Diploma in Craft Design after a course of studies lasting up to four years. Following them, another 19 students have met the requirements for a National Certificate in Craft Design which represents up to three years' study and practice.
Many of the works are domestic in scale and concept, while others are suitable for public spaces such as corporate offices and schools. Designs used by the artists draw upon Māori, Pacific Islands and European, particularly Celtic, traditions.
Last Impressions is the second public display of the work of Whitireia art students to be seen at PAGE90 this year. The first, the Origins exhibition in July, attracted record numbers of viewers and sales. Doubtless, the new show will be just as popular and exciting. Bob Cater, the Manager of the Whitireia Centre of Learning for the Arts, admits to having had a sneak preview of some of the work. "People who saw the Origins show thought its quality was amazingly high," he said, "but I am sure they will be even more amazed by the progress so many of these artists have shown in the few months since then."