Schools and students among early beneficiaries of Karori campus divestment

The education sector and the community are early beneficiaries of Victoria University of Wellington's divestment of its Karori campus with the University establishing new scholarships for students from low decile schools and giving surplus equipment away free to North Island schools.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford has announced that the interest on around $3.5 million received so far from divestment of parts of the campus will provide scholarships for students experiencing disadvantage from seven secondary schools in the Wellington region.

Recipients of the new Ngā Hoe a Kupe Pathfinder Scholarships will be selected by the Principal of their secondary school and will receive $7000 a year for three years towards the cost of completing an undergraduate degree at Victoria.

The scholarships will be available to students at Wainuiomata High School, Naenae College and Taita College in the Hutt Valley and Porirua College, Bishop Viard College, Mana College and Aotea College in Porirua—all low decile schools with large numbers of Māori and Pasifika students.

Professor Guilford says the University is delighted to be able to support students from disadvantaged communities to access the benefits of tertiary study.

“Victoria is committed to helping students who may not otherwise be able to access tertiary study to realise their potential and create a positive future for themselves and their communities.

“Investing earnings from the divestment of the Karori campus into this area aligns with our primary purpose of providing high quality, research-led, tertiary education on behalf of the wider community.”

Victoria is also supporting students at a range of other schools by donating equipment from the former Karori campus to them, with twenty-seven schools and one playcentre taking up the offer so far.

The items include stools, chairs, tables, pianos, shelving, screens, phones, printers, books, stationery, school journals, trollies to carry audio-visual equipment, teaching stations and projectors and are being used for a range of purposes.

For example, Mana College has taken chairs and tables for use in its student cafeteria and Belmont Primary School has taken similar items to furnish a remodelled learning centre. Nuhaka School, a small primary north of Wairoa, now has its first ever projector and screen as a result of the initiative.

More than ten Victoria staff have been working on the project for almost two months and Professor Guilford says they have done an outstanding job contacting schools, accessing and preparing the equipment and ensuring it was ready for use.

“This equipment is ideally suited for use in education settings so is proving useful to many schools. We are also pleased to help a number of schools that do not have items such as projectors due to their budget constraints.”

A series of Tukutuku panels, which were previously on the walls in the Allen Ward VC Hall at the campus, are also being donated to primary schools in the Wellington region.

The panels were completed by Victoria students in the 1980s and are based on local stories about the origins of Te Whanganui a Tara. These include Ngāke and Whaitaitai, Pōnekeneke, Tangi te Keo, Te Wheke o Muturangi, and Kupe. Each of the panels tells a complete story through the eyes of students.

The new initiatives announced by the University follow confirmation earlier this year that the future of two Karori early childhood centres that occupy sites on the former campus is secure, with agreement having been reached to transfer the centres from Victoria to the Ministry of Education, with the Ministry becoming the future landlord.

Victoria declared its Karori campus surplus to requirements in August 2016 and is moving through the process required under the Public Works Act to divest the campus.

Professor Guilford says since the University has not received any Government assistance with the costs of remediating damage caused by the Kaikoura earthquakes of November 2016, earthquake repairs are the next priority for sale proceeds received from divesting the Karori campus.

After that, any remaining funds will go towards offsetting the costs of redeveloping the University’s Kirk Building on its Kelburn Campus, which is expected to accommodate students and staff of the Faculty of Education who moved to Kelburn prior to the closure of the Karori Campus.

Victoria has donated equipment to the following schools:

  1. Holy Cross School, Miramar
  2. Marsden, Whitby
  3. Marsden, Karori
  4. Newlands Intermediate School
  5. Mana College
  6. St Teresa’s School
  7. Windley School
  8. Titahi Bay North School
  9. St Frances Xavier School
  10. Sacred Heart College
  11. Our Lady of the Rosary School
  12. Epuni Primary School
  13. Te Kura Māori o Porirua
  14. Maranatha Christian School
  15. Houghton Valley School
  16. Karori West School
  17. Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School
  18. Brooklyn Primary School
  19. Wainuiomata School
  20. Upper Hutt School
  21. Belmont School
  22. Nuhaka School
  23. Normandale School
  24. Koraunui School
  25. Glenview School
  26. Hutt Valley High School
  27. Tawa College
  28. Ngaio Playcentre