Our History: 1995

1995 was a year of significant development for both Whitireia and Porirua, with a new student centre at the Porirua campus and work beginning on the Kāpiti campus at Lindale, while in Porirua City the famed canopies were completed and opened with a large celebration

Between 1990 and 1994, the Whitireia roll almost doubled and student common facilities were beginning to bulge at the seams. To accommodate the exponentially increasing student numbers, a new $1million, 825sqm student services building was constructed at the Whitireia campus in Porirua.

Te Rito Poipoiā

Te Rito Poipoiā – ‘the place of nurturing for the extended family’ – was officially opened by Governor-General Dame Sylvia Cartwright on 9 March 1995, with the occasion attracting a strong attendance from local communities and officialdom. It began with a karanga by students from Performing Arts and the Faculty of Māori Development and included a tree-planting ceremony, followed, as was the style of the time, with an ecumenical service led by the Reverend Don Borrie, with a prayer by Tino Meleisea and readings by Stephen Mahy and Kay Stevens. Wellington community newspaper Contact ran a double-page feature on the new building and local businesses involved in its construction included advertisements congratulating Whitireia.  

Te Rito Poipoia tree planting 1995Tree planting at the opening of Te Rito Poipoiā by Angela Russell and Marion Bradshaw, assisted by kaumātua Ihakara Arthur 

The building was at least six times the size of the previous facilities and brought all the student services together under one roof. It housed student association offices, catering facilities and a large cafeteria, a shop offering stationery and textbooks, health and counselling areas, two meeting rooms, a student common room and quiet room, student exchange for textbooks and other essentials, and toilet blocks.

Student Services Building, Porirua campus

The southern entrance to Te Rito Poipoiā, Student Services Building, Porirua campus

"The development looks to the future," said student association manager Karen Ross. "It’s a real commitment by the polytechnic to the welfare of students."

The architect for the project, Bruce Warden, said the aim of the development was to create a comfortable and spacious student activity centre while keeping cost in mind. The building design was based on two enlarged classroom blocks, with a peaked foyer joining the two together to form an L-shape that curved around a central amphitheatre-type courtyard; an area that would later become known as the Atrium when space was redesigned in 2008.

Thanks to a grant given to the Student Association by the National Bank, Whitireia third-year visual arts diploma students were commissioned to create all of the original artwork in the foyer, including a large sculptural centrepiece by Brian Campbell, a carving by Hawaikirangi Stewart, and kites designed by Bev Joan that were suspended from the vaulted ceiling.

 Kites inTe Rito Poipoia

Kites designed by visual arts student Bev Joan in Te Rito Poipoiā

Lindale campus gets underway

Another area of growth for Whitireia in the early 1990s was the Kāpiti Coast. It had been acknowledged as early as 1986 that Whitireia should have a presence on the Kāpiti Coast, with then-Minister of Education Russell Marshall providing a directive to the original polytechnic council that its catchment area extends from Tawa in the south to Waikanae in the north. From 1988, a number of Whitireia courses were offered at various locations in Kāpiti, with the most significant being in 1990 when two offices in the old Lucas Print building in the Te Roto Drive industrial complex became home to a full-time office assistant course and an evening accounting module. But it was not until 1992 that the development of a comprehensive educational facility in the area was seriously considered.

A feasibility study in 1993 clearly identified the need for a new campus, with the existing Kāpiti facilities fast approaching capacity and demand in the area continuing to grow. Subsequently, Whitireia began a planning process that led to the purchase of a ten-acre block at Lindale, just north of Paraparaumu.

"The choice of land proved difficult," said then chair of the Whitireia Council, Margaret Faulkner. "We got quite a way down the line in 1994 with a chosen site, and then discovered at the resource consents hearing that we were right on a flight pathway. That was a great disappointment to us… We then selected the Lindale site, amid some opposition. There were some people who felt we had bought a ‘pig in a poke’ because the area was very peaty and seemed unsuitable for permanent buildings."

Kapiti campus Lindale artist renderAn artist render of the proposed campus at Lindale

Despite the initial misgivings, the development eventually received the support of the Mayor, the Kāpiti Enterprise Trust and the local community. An initial building programme got underway and in July, the site was blessed by kaumātua and kuia from Whakarongotai Marae with four mauri stones placed at its four corners. The stones, two from Kāpiti Island and two from the Waikanae river, were brought to the site, blessed, and given to chief executive Turoa Royal and three Ati Awa kaumātua, Ake Taiaki, Tuki Takiwa and Robert Ngaia. Turoa Royal and the three kaumātua each placed one of the stones, accompanied by prayer and singing. The four stones represented tauira (the students), wānanga (house of learning), te kiki oranga (the top) and te keke oraro (the bottom).  Kaumatua Paul Ropata mixed soil from Whakarongotai Marae with earth from the site of the first building to be erected, and the ceremony concluded with speeches from council representatives Tino Meleisea, Rev Don Borrie, and deputy chief executive Deirdre Dale. 

Whitireia at Whakarongotai Marae

Whitireia staff at Whakarongotai Marae with members of Te Atiawa ki Kāpiti for lunch and informal discussion following the blessing of the land and mauri stones for the first Kāpiti campus at Lindale

On 25 September, the first concrete was poured in a ceremony at the Lindale site and full construction began. Staff from Whitireia and the Kāpiti Coast District Council attended and the honour of shovelling in the first pour went to Whitireia Council Chair Margaret Faulkner. Also in attendance was deputy chief executive Deirdre Dale, Vicky Russell (Computers) and Hone Davis (Māori studies) amongst others. 

carousel oh-lindalepourDeputy chief executive Deirdre Dale, Vicky Russell, Hone Davis and Margaret Faulkner.

When the Kāpiti campus officially opened ahead of the 1996 intake it was marketed as being "situated in a park-like environment, surrounded by rolling hills," and offering "excellent learning facilities, including modern computer suites, library and an up-to-date, well-equipped training kitchen." Kāpiti would have over 200 enrolments in the first year of the new campus, with a total of 176 EFTS (equivalent full-time students). The new facility provided some parallel courses to those offered at the Porirua campus, but others were unique to Kāpiti - including Adventure Tourism and the Toi Whakaata (Māori Video and TV production) programme. The campus at Lindale would remain the base for Whitireia course offerings on the Kāpiti Coast until 2012 when a new campus was opened on Kāpiti Road in Paraparaumu.

Lindale campus staff with Turoa Royal and Deirdre Dale, 1996

Lindale campus staff with Turoa Royal and Deirdre Dale, 1996

Celebrating Te Reo

On 27 October a major celebration of Te Reo Māori occurred at the Porirua campus with staff, students, and guests attending a day-long event called Ma Whero Ma Pango Ma Tea ('for red, for black, for white'). "Red signifies chiefs or chiefliness, black signifies the whole iwi and white signifies the importance of learning and higher learning and the Tohunga or that special person," said Tauhu Mitai-Ngatai, the director of Te Wānanga Māori.

Guests, including activist Tame Iti and renowned Ngāti Awa kuia (and te Taniwha o Te Reo) Mīria Simpson, were welcomed on to Whitireia with performances by Te Tohu Mutunga Kore students.  After the pōwhiri, a replica of Te Tiriti o Waitangi bearing the signatures of Ngāti Toa chiefs was unveiled in the main administration foyer by kaumatua Ihakara Arthur and Mīria Simpson.  

Mīria Simpson unveils the Tiriti display

Mīria Simpson unveils the Tiriti display watched by Tauhu Mitai-Ngatai, director of Te Wānanga Māori


Following refreshments in the administration block, there was a presentation to the polytechnic of a taonga of harakeke by weaver Tangi Robinson, while a copy of Mīria Simpson's book, Ngā Tohu o Te Tiriti: Making a Mark, was also gifted.

Turoa Royal and Mīria Simpson

Turoa Royal and Mīria Simpson with a copy of her book Ngā Tohu o Te Tiriti: Making a Mark


Crowds in the central courtyard were entertained into the lunch hour with performances from Whitireia performing arts students, Whitireia music students, and Ngāti Toa School's kapa haka group (whose number included at least one future Whitireia student).

Performing Arts at Ma Whero Ma Pango Ma Tea 1995Performing Arts at Ma Whero Ma Pango Ma Tea

 Whitireia arts in Porirua

In 1995, some of the various art disciplines at Whitireia played a significant role in the cultural life of the wider Porirua area. Visual Arts students Andrew Simpson, Kyleigh Adrian, Charlotte Morse, Paula Garratt, James Harcourt, Bev Joan and Jenny Walters were tasked with designing the interior and exterior of City Cafe and Bar, a venture by the Porirua Licensing Trust in Lydney Place. Pacific and environmental themes connected to Porirua harbour abounded, with a floor design that depicted the Porirua harbour, Pacific ceiling and surface designs, and tattoo motifs and woven copper panels, with jarrah timber. Other areas incorporate rock drawings and tattoo designs, repeated as a sandblasted version in the bar mirror of the rock drawing. Most striking of all were the three 2 metre high totems at the front of the building, featuring nailed copper designs and rounded stones mounted on metal rods. 

City Cafe and Bar opening 1995The opening of the City Cafe and Bar with Whitireia students and Porirua Licensing Trust representative. From left to right: Tony Hawkins, James Harcourt, Jenny Walters, Charlotte Morse,  Kyleigh Adrian, Porirua Licensing Trust representative, and Andrew Simpson  

Another area of redevelopment in Porirua city was a feature that would come to be known as the canopies, a covered walkway connecting Selby Place, Cobham Court and Hartham Place. These were completed in October 1995 and a large cultural event was held to celebrate their official opening. The culture was also a theme of the spaces beneath the canopies with work from several artists taking up residence in its shade, including pieces by Whitireia tutors past and present: Rangi Kipa (whakairo), Anneke Borren (pottery), and Michel Tuffery, whose corned-beef tin bull was eventually relocated to Pātaka. 

opening of the porirua canopies 1995 piri ferrisPiri Ferris of the Whitireia Dance Company performing at the opening of the canopies in Porirua

Amongst the performers at the opening of the canopies, and stealing the show no doubt, were two groups of Whitireia performers: then-current Performing Arts students, and the Whitireia Dance Company, made up of past Performing Arts graduates. Later in the year, both groups of Whitireia Performing Arts would team up again when the Whitireia Dance Company performed as guests at the student's graduation session at Page 90 from 14-17 November.

Meanwhile, the Visual Arts students who had created the designs for the City Cafe and Bar had their own end of year finale when they and other students from the seventeen-strong diploma class, as well as a selection from the National Certificate in Craft Design and Art Foundation programme, exhibited in Grad U Art at Page 90.

Bob Carter, manager of the arts faculty, described the exhibition of bone, stone, wood, clay, mixed media, carving, jewellery and painting, as multicultural, exciting, energetic and vibrant. He also reminder readers of local papers that many of the works were for sale and it was a chance to acquire work by soon to be well regarded national and international artists. 

Visual Arts programme manager Prue Townsend spoke highly of the work and its creators: "We think that several of the current crop of students have both the skills and the attitude needed to become successful artists or craftspeople."    

In the news

Polytech gets law centre go-ahead
Kapi Mana 03.1995, by Ruth Berry

Whitireia Community Polytechnic has been given the go-ahead to establish a new community law centre in Porirua. It will be based at the Community Services Centre in Pember House, said Legal Services Board executive director, Dave Smith. A three-person trust with one polytech and two other community representatives will run the centre and oversee Whitireia's daily management of it, he said.

Whitireia law tutor centre manager, Bill Bevan, was still awaiting official confirmation of the decision when Kapi-Mana News talked to him on March 1995 but said he was pleased to hear the project was going ahead. The two other representatives included someone appointed by the board and someone appointed by both the board and the polytech - a representative from Ngāti Toa.

A community liaison group will be set up to advise the trust and the polytech has been contracted to provide the services.

NZ artist wins world competition
Dominion 03.1995

Wellington artist Leigh Anderton has been selected to travel to the United States as the winner of international competition. Anderton is the first New Zealander to be an award winner in the Mid-America Arts Alliance International Competition for Visual Arts. She will take up the 30 days travelling and 45 days in residence at a university in mid-1996.

A graduate of Whitireia Community Polytechnic's diploma in craft design last year, Anderton's work has encouraged viewer participation. "Rather than just walk in, look at a painting, and move on, people can actually manoeuvre the work and make changes."

Te Rito Poipoia - student services building opens
Contact 09.03.1995

The much-awaited new student facilities building at Whitireia Community Polytechnic was officially opened today. Guest of honour, the Honourable Dame Silvia Cartwright, DBE, opened the building following a traditional karanga and karakia.

Guests at the opening included representatives from local colleges and businesses plus members of Whitireia Polytechnic Council, staff and Student Association past and present.

The opening was the culmination of much hard work by polytechnic staff, student association, architects Bruce Warden, and contractors.

Karen Leatham, Karen Ross and Bruce Warden 1995Karen Leatham, student association manager Karen Ross and architect Bruce Warden 1995

Tony Hawkins and James HarcourtTony Hawkins and James Harcourt working on one of the totem poles
Multi-cultural flavour for a city bar
Kapi Mana 04.04.1995, by Ruth Berry

Whitireia Community Polytechnic students are hard at work on designs for the new city centre restaurant and bar which had been given the final go-ahead. The Porirua Licensing Trust development will cost about $400,000. Porirua City Council granted consent for the Lydney Place project. The contract had been let to Wellington firm McGuinness L T Ltd. Plans for the premises, built in the building which housed the former TAB and Prestons Butchery, had been extended to include a next-door jewellery shop. The project was expected to be finished by the end of May 1995.

Students James Harcourt and Tony Hawkins are pictured working on one of the three totem poles, designed by fellow student Paula Garratt, which sits outside the 370 square metre building.

The copper pieces will adorn the poles in a tattoo design, which will also feature inside the bar. Huge seven-metre sails will hang across the ceiling, over the floor which will be created to resemble the shape of Porirua Harbour. Woodcuts based on cave painting motifs will be set into tabletops.

The aim of the project being completed by the polytechnic's national diploma in craft design course is to incorporate aspects of many cultures - a reflection of the multicultural nature of the city.

International performing arts festival planned for Whitireia in 1997
Porirua News 26.04.1995

Porirua will become the focus for performing artists from across the Pacific and Asia in 1997. Whitireia Polytechnic has initiated a plan to host an Asia Pacific Youth Performing Arts Festival in September 1997.

Organising Committee chairman Don Borrie says the groundwork for the festival had been laid by the extensive series of international performance by the Whitireia Performing Arts Group over the last four years. The group had performed in Switzerland, France, North Korea, Malaysia and China among others. This June and July they will further extend their overseas experience with trips to three international folk festivals in Germany and Slovenia.

Southside of Bombay

From left to right, Kevin Hodges (Tenor Sax), Maaka McGregor (Drums), Damon Grant (Alto Sax), Anne Pritchard (Keyboards), Brent Thompson (Bass), Joe Fa'amaoni (Lead Guitar), David Fiu (Trumpet)

The local band hits the big time
Porirua News 17.05.1995

Titahi Bay band Southside of Bombay is releasing a new single called Umbadada which they hope will go gold following their song What's the time, Mr Wolf. The second best-selling NZ single for 1994, What's the time, Mr Wolf is currently being released as a single in Australia, Europe and the USA in conjunction with the Once Were Warriors soundtrack.

Both the artwork and the accompanying video feature Porirua talent. Cover work is by Porirua artist James Molnar and the video showcases students from Whitireia Polytechnic and people from the streets of Wellington singing Umbadada.

To celebrate the release, a gig is being held at Antipodes on the corner of Cuban and Vivian Streets on Friday, May 19. Entertainment will include The Chemistry Boys (9.30 pm), In the Whare (10.15 pm) followed by Southside of Bombay (11.00 pm).

Student artists create unique space
Community News 21.06.1995

Seven Whitireia Community Polytechnic art students will have a lot to be proud of when the City Cafe and Bar opens to the public tomorrow at 10 am. Andrew Simpson, Kyleigh Adrian, Charlotte Morse, Paula Garratt, James Harcourt, Bev Joan and Jenny Walters designed the interior of Porirua's latest cafe/bar.

The work includes a floor design depicting the Porirua harbour Pacific flavour ceiling and surface designs. A tattoo motif and woven copper panels, with jarrah timber uprights, create a Pacific Island nautical theme for the bar and other decors. The spirits rail incorporates rock drawings and tattoo designs and the bar mirror features a sandblasted version of the rock drawing. Similar design aspects are repeated in the food service area. The outdoor bar has three 2m high totems with inlaid copper decoration, surrounded by steel fern fronds. 

Each table has different woodcut designs photographed and processed onto its top. Large sails in a parchment colour, hanging from the ceiling, are placed to lead through to other parts of the bar. Students have also hand textured the back walls and the front wall in the dining area. Even the doors have copper push plates with a striking copper etched design made by the students.

Whitireia continues to grow
Kapi Mana 13.06.1995

Whitireia Community Polytechnic has had a 78 per cent growth in the number of tertiary places funded by the Ministry of Education during the past four years. Commenting on the polytechnic's annual report, chief executive Turoa Royal said the number of tertiary places generally funded by the ministry between 1991 and 1995 had only risen by 22.6 per cent. There were a number of reasons for the huge growth of Whitireia. Polytechnics which achieved their student target each year were more often given increased funding the following year. Every year Whitireia has exceeded the targets negotiated with the Ministry of Education.

Kava Vulu and Kitiana Taipapa

Whitireia Performing Arts students Kava Vulu and Kitiana Taipapa in Cook Island costume

Whitireia - top performers overseas
Kapi Mana 21.06.1995

The Whitireia Performing Arts Class is leaving tomorrow on a month-long tour to represent New Zealand and Porirua at folk festivals in Germany, Slovenia and Nishio. The 36 member group, which includes 30 students, will perform a full Cook Island, Māori and Samoan repertoire at three five day folklore festivals in Schessel and Shlitz in Germany and in Maribor, Slovenia, formerly Czechoslovakia.

These annual festivals are attended by countries from all over the world. New Zealand groups were always in high demand and the festival organisers, The Cultural Organisation of International Folk Loric Festivals, were very keen to have the Whitireia group attend. As well as performances, students will be involved in workshops where people from other countries can learn poi, drum dance and haka. They will also be taught about the meaning of dance movements and the cultural stories behind them. 

Cultural show-case
Kapi Mana 31.10.1995

Several thousand people crammed into Porirua's city centre on Saturday for the official opening of the $4 million covered walkways. The day-long event turned out to be a show-case of cultures, song and dance involving a diverse range of acts that included the Whitireia Performing Arts group, Latin American Band Solatino, Japanese Taiko Drummers, Māori cultural group Tamatea, Sam Manzanza, women's vocal group Faultline, the Titahi Bay Intermediate cultural group, various Pacific Island groups, pipe bands and Homer Simpson.

Markets, buskers and street theatre also featured. Festivities kicked off at 10 am with an official opening by Mayor John Burke.

opening of the porirua canopies 1995 performing artsWhitireia Performing Arts students perform at the opening of the canopies

Te Reo Māori celebrated
Kapi Mana 7.11.95, by Linda Davies

Music, song and dance rocked the very foundations of Whitireia Polytechnic recently as staff, students, and guests celebrated Te Reo Māori. Ma Whero Ma Pango Ma Tea Day (for red, for black, for white) was the name given to the day of celebration.

"Red signifies chiefs or chiefliness, black signifies the whole iwi and white signifies the importance of learning and higher learning and the Tohunga or that special person," said Tauhu Mitai-Ngatai, the director of the Māori faculty.

The unveiling, in the main administration foyer, of Te Tiriti O Waitangi which bears the signatures of Ngāti Toa chiefs was a highlight of the day. Another was the presentation to the polytechnic of a Taonga made from harakeke - a fibre incorporating paua shells - made by Tangi Robinson. A book, Nga Tohu o Te Tiriti: Making a Mark by Mīria Simpson was also presented. Ngāti Toa School kapa haka group entertained the crowds into the lunch hour giving a memorable well-received performance.

Taonga by Tangi Robinson presented

Tangi Robinson presents her taonga made from harakeke to Tauhu Mitai-Ngatai from Whitireia

Spiritual works
Porirua News, 1995

Whitireia Polytechnic's new student services centre has gained a feeling of spirituality with the erection of artworks commissioned for the foyer. The works, completed by students of the polytechnic, were blessed by Whitireia kaumatua Ihakara Arthur, in a ceremony recently. He is pictured (far left) with the students responsible for the three works (left to right) Hawaikirangi Stewart, Brian Campbell and Bev Joan. They are standing in front of Campbell's work "Sculptures," which represents different generations of people and races and is based on the concepts: welcome, family and shelter.  

Ihakara Arthur, Hawaiikirangi Stewart, Brian Campbell, BevJoan 1995

Kaumātua Ihakara Arthur with Hawaikirangi Stewart, Brian Campbell and Bev Joan