Our History: 1998

Students numbers continued to grow in 1998 with a 13% increase to 1807 total EFTs studying across 56 full-time programmes

A new chair for the Whitireia council

Chris Kirk BunnandChris Kirk-Burnnand

Chris Kirk-Burnnand became the third chair of the Whitireia council as Margaret Faulkner retired from the lead role but continued on as deputy chair. Chris Kirk-Burnnand had been a member of the council for two years, including time spent just prior as deputy, and he brought with him substantial successful business experience to the new role. This focus was clear when he reflected years later on his time spent on the council, with financial gains being for the good of students. "We had a feeling that we should be able to offer the students the same level of facilities as was available at the best universities or polytechnics... Through the years I was on the board, we had a clear focus on ensuring that we had a healthy surplus each year so that we could reinvest in facilities to upgrade and improve the organisation."

During Chris Kirk-Burnnand's tenure, this approach was evident, with the $35 million campus redevelopment of the Porirua campus being approved by council in 2003, leading to a decade-long programme of building and renovation. He would continue as chair until 2004 when he retired from the role and was replaced by Dennis Sharman.

Midland Park campus

In partnership with Maxim Recruitment Agency, Whitireia established its first campus in Wellington in 1998. The Midland Park campus was based on Level 4 of the Ernst Plischke-designed Massey House, on the corner of Johnson Street and Lambton Quay, and initially provided a range of training qualifications from the School of Office Systems and Tourism. Options were available in business administration, industry customised training and open learning, which later broadened to variously include publishing, call centre training, outdoor leadership, and desktop publishing.

The Midland Park campus would continue as a rather low-key presence for Whitireia in Wellington until 2008 and 2009 when two considerably more prominent locations opened in the central city: the Wellington campus in Cuba Mall, followed the next year by the Wellington Performance Centre in Vivian Street.  

Midland Park campus class

A class at the Midland Park campus

Pride of the Polytechnic Day

In an initiative created by Youth Affairs minister Deborah Morris, the Whitireia student association invited the community to attend Pride of the Polytechnic Day beneath the canopies in Porirua city and at the Porirua campus on Friday, 1 May. Aimed to boost the employment prospects of students by showcasing their skills, the day began with an opening ceremony beneath the canopies and included shows by eight bands from the music department, cultural performances by students from both the performing arts and English and as Second Language programmes, while nursing students gave free "warrants of fitness" and horticulture students planted shrubs donated by the Porirua City Council. Meanwhile, at the Porirua campus, a hangi was laid for lunch and a basketball competition was held in the afternoon.

band2b pride of the polytechnic dayWhitireia music students, band 2b: Teaukura Ariki Chuck Upu, Nicky Petty, Dan McGruer (later of Kora). Not in picture: Wade Sharp (guitar), Abby Kawai (vocals), Andy Mac (drums)

In the news

Dance company's home secure
Kapi Mana 1998

Whitireia Performing Arts Dance Company has moved into its new home and members are elated with it even if construction work is still going on around them.

The dance company's new base is in Porirua’s $5 million-plus museum and art gallery, which is still about six months from completion. Fears were held that the dance company would be permanently left without a home when their old studio was shut down at the end of last year to make way for the redevelopment. Company manager Gaylene Sciscia says to be part of the redevelopment puts the group into the heart of the city.

Whitireia students get a geographical history lesson
Kapi Mana 20.01.1998

Ngāti Toa kaumatua Ihakara Arthur explains local Māori history to students from the top of Whitireia Mountain overlooking Cook Strait. From the vantage point at the top of Whitireia, Mr Arthur pointed out historical landmarks. He said that Te Rauparaha used Cook Strait so many times he referred to it as "his river."

Te Tohu Mutunga Kore (The Never-Ending Gift) students from Whitireia Community Polytechnic attended a day and night history hui at Takapūwāhia Marae. After the pōwhiri Ngāti Toa's Jeanette Katene gave a talk on the concepts and meanings of the artwork inside Whare Tupuna which covers all walls, the ceiling and support beams.

Following the field trip to Whitireia Mountain, Ngāti Toa executive director Matiu Rei discussed iwi history from the landing at Kawhia in the upper North Island, the migration to the Wellington region and settlement at Elsdon.

Whitireia art students win logo competition
Kapi Mana 16.06.1998, by Cecelia De Souza

Annabelle Buick, a final year Arts Diploma student at Whitireia Community Polytechnic, has won a competition to design a new logo for the Porirua Community Arts Council. She received $200 for her winning design. The arts council got about 30 entries, many of which were of a high standard.

The flowing lines of the logo reflect brushwork, dance movement and seascape.  

Treaty commemorations held on the summit of Mt Whitireia
Kapi Mana 30.07.1998, by Jen Mitchell

About 60 people braved cold winds on the summit of Mt. Whitireia last Friday to commemorate Maori chief Te Rauparaha signing the Treaty of Waitangi 158 years ago.

Mt. Whitireia was the nearest point to where Te Rauparaha signed the treaty on a ship anchored off the coast. It was the second time his signature was added to the document on behalf of Ngati Toa, recognition by the Crown of his importance.

The dawn ceremony, organised by Whitireia Polytechnic's Treaty of Waitangi Unit was attended by the Porirua Mayor John Burke, deputy mayor Jasmine Underhill, several other city councillors and senior management staff, members of Ngāti Toa and polytechnic students. Mr Burke said he was thrilled at the number of people who attended the commemoration and hopes to develop future acknowledgement of the day as it is the anniversary of the treaty being signed in Porirua.

Following a breakfast hosted by the polytechnic, council staff attended an informal workshop dealing with Treaty of Waitangi management. Bob Cater, co-convener of the polytechnic's treat unit, said: "One of the reasons why we try to commemorate this is to make people aware that the signing took place here." This is the third year the treat unity has held treaty commemorations, part of the polytechnic's ongoing commitment to meeting its treaty obligations.

New initiatives and 1999 programmes at Whitireia
Porirua News 14.10.1998

Whitireia Community Polytechnic has continued to grow rapidly since it was established in 1986. This year, student enrolment has continued to increase, both domestically and nationally.

This growth is due to the polytechnic's commitment to providing a wide range of vocational and non-vocational courses, which meet the needs of its communities. Further initiatives are planned for 1999.

One of the initiatives is a partnership between Whitireia and Maxim Recruitment Agency resulting in the creation of a new campus at the corner of Johnson Street and Lambton Quay in Wellington's city centre, named Midland Park campus. The new campus provides a range of training qualifications for those who wish to upskill and gain experience without leaving the city centre.

The School of Office Systems and Tourism is currently offering Business Administration Computer Applications, Industry Customised Training and Open Learning on this new campus.

New programmes on offer in 1999 include the Outdoor Leadership Diploma, Māori Business Administration, National Certificate in Retailing (Level 3) and a National Certificate in Mental Health Support Work. 

Kirk-Burnnand to chair Whitireia council
Kapi Mana 15.12.1998

Pauatahanui resident and Johnsonville businessperson Chris Kirk-Burnnand have been selected chairperson of the Whitireia Community Polytechnic Council.

Mr Kirk-Burnnand has been a member of the council for two years, most recently as deputy chairperson, and brings substantial successful business experience to his new role, said polytechnic chief executive Deirdre Dale.

The previous chairperson Margaret Faulkner, who has 12 years' experience with the council, continues as deputy chairperson.