This year, Whitireia celebrates 30 years of leading and illuminating its communities through quality tertiary education.
As part of our celebrations we are rolling out the 30 for 30 series, a collection of 30 stories highlighting many of the key events in the history of Whitireia. From our humble beginnings 30 years ago on the shores of Porirua Harbour, we have grown to become one of New Zealand’s leading polytechnics – the tertiary institution of choice for over 7000 students with an impressive list of achievements.
We hope you enjoy looking back and reflecting with us, and encourage you to share your own memories and comments. We would not be where we are now without the wonderful staff, students and community members who have supported us along the way – thank you all for being part of the journey.
In this instalment, we travel back to early 1986 to look at the official opening of the Porirua campus:
The first courses to be run at Parumoana Community College began in February of 1986, however, the incredibly short lead-in time meant some of the furniture and equipment only arrived on the same day as the students (and in some cases after classes had started!).
The college council, under the chairmanship of Tino Meleisea, and foundation principal Turoa Royal had worked incredibly hard in a very tight timeframe to ensure the college could start running classes in February, and staff and students were beginning to settle in by the date of the official opening on 15 March 1986.
Mr Royal said at the time that the opening heralded a new development in education in the Porirua basin and Kāpiti Coast, that being greater access to continuing education for the community.
The opening began with Ngāti Toa kaumātua conducting a dawn dedication ceremony and tapu lifting, before a traditional welcome for Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves and the other visiting dignitaries. Sir Paul spoke to the crowd and said that he saw the college as a source of learning, adding that it would bring the community together.After his speech, the Governor-General unveiled a plaque carved by whakairo tutor Lou Kereopa, which represented the cultural values the college hoped to promote – excellence, endeavour, social concern, training and vocation. A tukutuku panel gifted to the college by Maraeroa Marae was also unveiled.
Following the formalities, guests were taken on a tour of the campus, before a celebration hākari was held and an afternoon of entertainment from Porirua’s various cultural groups got underway.[Look out for the next ‘Thirty for 30’ instalment on the transition of our name from Parumoana Community College to Whitireia Community Polytechnic. Sign up to the blog to receive a notification as soon as it’s posted. You can also read our previous instalment here: Thirty for 30: Breaking New Ground]