Our History: 2004

Exponential growth continued at Whitireia in 2004, with 4,569 total EFTs, 128 full-time programmes, 340 staff, and a $6.5 million surplus from a total annual operating revenue of $44 million

Opening of Ūmanga Pakihi me te Hangarau Rorohiko, the Business & Computing Centre

The first stage of the Porirua campus redevelopment plan reached its conclusion with the opening of the Business & Computing Centre, Ūmanga Pakihi me te Hangarau Rorohiko, on 14 April by the Right Honourable Margaret Wilson. The first two-story building on campus, the Business & Computing Centre was designed to house the business and information technology programmes, and would later provide administrative space for the Faculty of Trades and Services, and a new home for Te Wānanga Māori. The build also included a redesign of the space around Te Rito Poipoiā with the creation of a new glazed shelter over a third of the courtyard, connecting the new building with the existing student services building. 

Business and Computing Centre 01The completed Business and Computing Centre with landscaping still a work in progress


A central feature of the Business & Computing Centre was artwork, with several pieces installed for permanent display as part of the opening. A  carving by Tuakana Holmes, which was unveiled by chief executive Deirdre Dale, greeted visitors at the northernmost entrance to the building, while in the central foyer still hangs a large triptych by James Molnar.

Business and Computing Centre opening01Unveiling by Deirdre Dale of the carving by Tuakana Holmes


Dotted along the main hallway are display cases within which jewellery students, amongst others, have often exhibited small scale works over the years. To mark the opening, this ability to display artwork was put to good use with the hosting of Flashpoint, a retrospective of Whitireia visual arts graduate work displayed throughout the new building. 

Business and Computing Centre opening02The foyer of the Business and Computing Centre during the opening of the building with the triptych by James Molnar on permanent display

Work begins on Te Kete Wānanga

With Ūmanga Pakihi me te Hangarau Rorohiko completed, work began on the next stage of the Porirua campus redevelopment plan:  Te Kete Wānanga. Designed by Athfield Architects, the building would provide a new home for learning services as well as the Porirua campus library, which since 1989 had been housed in the increasingly-cramped Russell Marshall wing of the Administration Building. 

Te Kete Wananga perspectivePerspective rendering of Te Kete Wānanga

The building was designed to symbolise a waka and its shed, with a curved wall and continuous roof sheltering the vessel of knowledge,  while a moat surrounded both, flowing into a repo or swamp, planted with reeds, which filtered the water before it reaches the harbour. 

Te Kete Wananga sideperspectiveVarious side renders of Te Kete Wānanga: southern profile (top), northern profile (middle) and northern profile with a cross-section view

Farewell to Chris, hello to Dennis

Dennis SharmanDennis Sharman

Chris Kirk-Burnnand stood down as chair of the Whitireia council after six years in the role and a total of eight years on the council. Reflecting on his time as chair he spoke of the ethos of Whitireia: "We saw Whitireia as a centre of achievement for local people, meaning that we were very much focused on that. In our society today there's an attitude about equality of opportunity, but equality of opportunity is actually only opening a door, whereas what we were working on was trying to achieve equality of results... I don't ever remember walking away from there without people's stories touching my heart. That's why I felt lucky to be involved there."  

Chris Kirk-Burnnand was replaced as chair by Dennis Sharman, whose appointment was announced in August of that year, with Suzanne Snively becoming deputy chair. Reflecting on his predecessor in that year's annual report, Dennis Sharman said: "Chris has always been extremely passionate about Whitireia and its success. Through his role as Council Chair, he guided the polytechnic through some of the most significant changes to happen in the tertiary sector."

Dennis Sharman brought with him a background in computer engineering and business and would hold the role until 2010 when ministerial appointment Roger Sowry became chair. 

In the news

Last concert before taking it to the world
Kapiti Observer 15.06.2004

Stunning cultural performance group, Whitireia Performing Arts, will present two concerts next week before embarking on an international tour. The group, nominees for 2004 regional business awards, is a unique school within Whitireia Community Polytech's faculty of arts and communication.

The performance previews the show they will tour at international festivals in Canada, Belgium, Holland and the UK, says faculty manager Tim Renner. "This is a unique, dynamic, contemporary cultural experience of Aotearoa/New Zealand, by an award-winning group from Porirua."

The Farewell Celebration Concert includes guest artist, and 2003 graduate, Falani Kalolo, who recently returned from a study and performance season in the United States after winning a Creative New Zealand grant. The concert will be held at Pataka, June 24 and 25 at 7.30 pm.

PerformingArts Leadstudent 2004Third-year students Tipene Wade, Alfie Collier, Hemi Whanga, Byron Taufai and Brandon Laulu

Whitireia eyes town centre space to handle anticipated roll growth
Kapiti Observer 17.06.2004

Whitireia Polytechnic says an anticipated roll growth of more than 550 per cent have it looking at how it can best expand.

Management confirmed its interest in moving its Lindale campus to the council-owned 18-hectare Paraparaumu Civic Centre block. "We have indicated to Kāpiti Coast District Council our keenness to explore the possibility provided there is fiscal compatibility," said its chief executive Deirdre Dale to media.

She said Whitireia was planning to expand its services at the 10-acre Lindale campus but other options could be considered. Ms Dale said the ideas were first mooted at the last town centre design workshop held as part of the Community Plan process late last year. She said preliminary designs which included the gallery, arts centre and the polytechnic had been drawn up as part of the exercise.

If the proposal was successful the move would have been a return to the original wish of the polytechnic. In 1995 Whitireia wanted to site its Kāpiti campus in the town centre zone. "Planning for the town centre was however not ready. Unable to wait we sited it at Lindale," she said.

Whitireia owned its present Lindale site. Ms Dale said if the move was finalised it would mean a combination of relocating some of the current buildings and building new ones.

The chairperson calls it a day
Porirua City News 23.06.2004, by Peter Gibson

Prominent businessman and community leader, Chris Kirk-Burnnand is standing down as chairperson of Whitireia Community Polytechnic’s governing council. Whitireia has been one of Mr Kirk-Burnnand’s passions for eight years. He was appointed to the Whitireia council in 1996, quickly became deputy chair, and then chairperson in 1998.

Mr Kirk-Burnnand says he is sad to be leaving, but he was instrumental in setting up an eight-year time limit for council members in the first place. To him, polytechnics are vital because they teach vocational skills. With Whitireia, there is an added social benefit, as a significant number of students come from outside the educational mainstream. These are “second-chance students”, in many cases welfare dependants, who, through learning, become providers instead.

In the eight years of Mr Kirk-Burnnand’s involvement, Whitireia has exploded in size. Over 17,000 people studied one or more courses in 2003. This was equivalent to 4000 full-time students, up from about 1300 in 1996. It has annual revenues of $45 million and was the second biggest employer in Porirua after the city council. In addition to the parent campus at Porirua, there are now facilities at Paraparaumu, on Lambton Quay, and in central Auckland. Whitireia is a flexible institution and copes with a broad range of students.

Student wins Dowse design award for wearing her art with honour
Kapi-Mana 13.07.2004

Quirky artwork celebrating the achievements of New Zealand women has won Whitireia Community Polytechnic student Lindsay Park a coveted Friends of the Dowse Award. She was one of only two students in the country who were awarded the $500 merit prize. Her collection of medals Is it all an act? depicts important moments for women in New Zealand.

Her jewellery entry was developed through Origins, the flagship programme of the visual art department at Whitireia, where students take a deep look into their background.

As a mature student, Park was involved in the art world for many years before deciding to become an artist. In the late 1980s she ran a contemporary gallery in Wellington, 33 1/3 Gallery, which gave some of her tutors, including current jewellery tutor Peter Deckers, their first exhibition in New Zealand - well before they started teaching.

Lindsay Park medalsLindsay Park's medals from the Is it all an act? series

Whitireia names a new chair
Kapi-Mana 17.08.2004

Whitireia Community Polytechnic has appointed Dennis Sharman as the new chairperson of its council. The Tawa resident and founder of Sharman Consulting Ltd replaces Chris Kirk-Burnnand, who has retired after eight years on the council. Whitireia Polytechnic anticipated a roll growth of more than 550 per cent and was looking at how it could best expand in 2004.

10 years' service celebrated in artwork
Kapi-Mana 19.10.2004

An artwork by Whitireia Community Polytechnic students, reflecting the essence of the Porirua Community Services Centre, was recently unveiled in Pember House. Called Te Kotahitanga - Porirua, the carved, painted and woven work encompasses "community groups working together."

Five panels represent ethnic groups from five continents - the middle one depicting their unique cultural features. Two woven panels show the combining of cultures, skills and knowledge which are supported by an ability to strive for achievement and success, as depicted by the outer panels. The colours are also significant: red for the blood running through all people's veins, pink for European cultures, brown for dark-skinned ones, purple for the darkness that inhibits achievement and white for hope and peace - the light at the end of the tunnel.


Wi Taepa and visual arts students Tamariki Ferguson Ana Maea Chitara Whangapirita Cameron Brockie and Tupe RodgersTutor and artist Wi Taepa and visual arts students Tamariki Ferguson, Ana Maea Chitara Whangapirita, Cameron Brockie and Tupe Rodgers with their work commissioned by the centre to celebrate ten years service to the city.