The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wananga o WaikatoThe University of Waikato - Te Whare Wananga o Waikato

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The University of Waikato


The University of Waikato/Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato had its genesis in 1956, when a small group of visionary individuals determinedly began working towards the founding of a university for the people of the South Auckland region. A college, a sub-branch of Auckland University, was established in 1959 and in 1965 the University of Waikato, having opened its doors in 1964, was officially opened by the then Governor-General, Sir Bernard Fergusson (later Lord Ballantrae).

From these modest beginnings, on what was largely farmland and with only a handful of temporary buildings and staff, the University of Waikato now provides around 205 qualifications to a student population of approximately 13,000, of whom more than 4,800 complete a qualification annually. Today, the University employs approximately 1,560 full-time equivalent staff and makes a significant contribution to the local economy.

The University celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2004. This important milestone was accompanied by significant change—we mourned the death of our Foundation Vice-Chancellor, Professor Don Llewellyn, and farewelled our third Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bryan Gould, who retired after ten years in the post. With great optimism and a focus on the future, we commenced the next chapter of our history by welcoming our fourth Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roy Crawford at the beginning of 2005.

Our focus on the future was quickly cemented, as we embarked on the development and delivery of an ambitious Vision for the period 2005-2015. The key themes of our new Vision are Excellence, Distinctiveness and International Connectedness. We are committed to delivering a world-class education and research portfolio, providing a full and dynamic university experience which is distinctive in character, and pursuing strong international linkages to advance knowledge. The Vision articulates a strong framework which will define our fifth decade, presenting us with many exciting challenges and opportunities.

We play an essential leadership role in the prosperity of our region, which we define in terms of the tribal boundaries of the 16 iwi affiliated to Te Rōpū Manukura. It extends from Manukau down to Wanganui, across to Kahungunu, along the East Coast up to Hikurangi, continuing up the Bay of Plenty, to the Coromandel and back to Manukau. We sit at the heart of a community of strong regional partnerships and take pride in the extent to which we reflect and serve the strengths and interests of our region.

Our quality Hamilton campus environment, with grounds covering an area of 65 hectares, continues to be a source of community pride. The grounds include sports fields, walkways, three lakes and extensive gardens. Great care is taken to maintain the beautiful grounds, while also developing the built environment to accommodate the University’s growing needs. During 2003 and 2004, an extensive urban design consultation process was undertaken, which culminated in the development of a 10 year capital development plan. A cohesive framework of design principles underpins this plan, ensuring that the environmental, social and structural elements of the campus will continue to relate to each other effectively and contribute to a developing model of sustainability. In keeping with the agreed urban design concepts, the University will strengthen its emphasis on bicultural developments through initiatives such as a physical Rūnanga and a new marae.

As part of its new Vision, the University will promote the concept of a full university experience, which is much more than just the accumulation of knowledge. Through a range of campus development and related strategies, it will enhance the entire intellectual, cultural, political, social and recreational life that students enjoy while they are enrolled.

The Hamilton campus is home to the WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts, a high-technology facility for the performance of drama, music, dance, and Māori and other cultural performing arts. It is, at the same time, a vital teaching facility for the University, and a world-class performance venue, which has been welcomed by the Hamilton and wider Waikato communities who share it. Such is its great success that additions and extensions are being planned.

We are committed to increasing both the tertiary participation rate of our regional population overall, as well as the proportions of new school-leavers and postgraduate students. We are also committed to ensuring the ongoing relevance of the programmes we offer, and the effectiveness of our delivery of them. The University continues to deliver programmes in various locations throughout our region and more than 20 of our qualifications are available entirely or mostly through online study.

The University of Waikato has a campus at Tauranga and a strong relationship with the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. The collaborative arrangements enjoyed by both institutions include the sharing of resources and services and joint provision of professional development and training opportunities for staff. Credit transfer arrangements between the two institutions are well-established.

The University has recently affirmed its commitment to the community in the Bay of Plenty and to sustaining that commitment in a manner that is focused and directly aligned with its new Vision and its role as one of the key drivers of economic growth in the region. With this in mind, the University will align itself with the region’s economic and growth strategies as a means of ensuring that its own strategies are coordinated and integrated with those of the Bay of Plenty community.

Cooperation and collaboration are fundamental principles to the way the University of Waikato operates. We are a member of the Tertiary Education Alliance, alongside the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Tairawhiti Polytechnic, Waiariki Institute of Technology, Western Institute of Technology and Wintec. This Alliance is a highly successful example of a cooperative approach to education planning and provision. It provides clear academic pathways through agreed articulation, credit and contractual teaching arrangements, and as a result, students in the region can take advantage of tertiary opportunities that would not otherwise have been so accessible.

We adhere to the concept of a university education that is, by definition, research-led. Through sustained research intensity and the attraction of high levels of external funding from public sector and industry sources, we aim to maintain a highly competitive research profile. Our staff participate in a wide range of research consortia, clusters and multi-institutional research teams locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Located close to a recently established Innovation Park, we are exceptionally well-placed to contribute to the local and national economies by enhancing business capability in the region and increasing opportunities for the commercialisation of intellectual property.

We continue to foster a culture of internationalisation, measured through the diversity of our student and staff profiles, the support and celebration of that diversity, a long-standing pride in our reputation for the pastoral care of our international students, and the measures we take through curriculum, programme design and our global networks and connections to international influences.

From its inception the University has always been at the forefront of initiatives in support of Māori aspirations. Sir Bernard Fergusson made a deep and lasting impression with his message at the official opening of the University, saying that Waikato was “the first of the New Zealand universities to be planted right in the heart of traditionally Māori country.” Since our foundation, we have worked closely with local iwi, particularly Tainui, to make the University accessible to Māori students and to foster an environment of success. Today, we are proud to have the highest proportion of Māori students of any New Zealand university.

As part of our role in relation to life-long learning, the University’s Centre for Continuing Education delivers each year, both in Hamilton and in Tauranga, an adult and community education programme that draws heavily on university scholarship and expertise. We have always regarded our community education programmes as a very important and valuable dimension of our academic provision and a significant dimension of our Charter commitments to our region, to equity of access and to kaupapa and tikanga Māori.

We are proud of our evolution into a truly New Zealand institution which, as our motto reflects, supports our country’s nation-building policies and reflects our nation’s identity. Ko Te Tangata (‘For the People’).

The University of Waikato - Te Whare Wananga o Waikato
Last modified: Thu Nov 24 13:57:45 2005

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