Whitireia is a name our people brought from Hawaiiki with them. They believe it came from the ngā atua, from the gods. That name is very deep in the Māori world. There are two names in Māoridom that we say are from the gods, and Whitireia is one of them.
– Ihakara Arthur, Ngāti Toa kaumātua
At Whitireia we have always been proud of our history. From the beginning, it could be said that Whitireia had a sense of belonging to something older and more ancient than itself, taking on a name that, as Ngāti Toa kaumātua Ihakara Arthur described it, was from the ngā atua, the gods. The very role was given to Whitireia, or Parumoana as it was then briefly known, to provide Porirua and the surrounding region with hitherto unavailable options in tertiary education, gave a sense of purpose. It was a mandate that facilitated a belief that what began with a historic groundbreaking one cold dawn in 1985 would continue to grow from strength to strength.
It was arguably this sense of history in the making that compelled founding principal Turoa Royal to formally request on 19 March 1986 that librarian Chanel White document all material of historical significance to the polytechnic, and that she makes a record of any media references to Whitireia, in order to "assist future historians to write about the history of our college." These media clippings were painstakingly photocopied and archived in an ever-growing collection of ring binders, and it is the efforts of Chanel and subsequent archivists that have contributed significantly to this section of the Whitireia website. While ring binders full of newspaper clippings may have given way to digital records, it is to Turoa Royal's credit that his foresight facilitated an ever-evolving archive that provides a much-needed source of veracity when memory fails.
As Turoa Royal had foreseen, this archive proved invaluable not just for our online annals but for previous documentation of the history of Whitireia. In 1996, to mark ten years as an institution, Adrienne Jansen and Tracey Scadden compiled and edited the book Whitireia Conversations: Our First Ten Years, while fifteen years later, 25 Years: Leading and Illuminating was able to be still more comprehensive, backed up by invaluable data from the archives. Fitting, then, that on 19 June 2012, 26 years after writing his memo to Chanel White, Turoa Royal was able to sit with his two successors at Takapūwāhia Marae and sign copies of a book borne from his foresight.