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Massey and Victoria back Council plan

Joint Media Release
4 December, 2003

Massey and Victoria back Council plan

Joint statement by Massey University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Heskin and Victoria University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor David Mackay.

Massey and Victoria universities are pushing ahead with their plans for a joint School of Music with the national centre of musical excellence now having a name, interim director and possible inner-city location.

The Wellington City Council's built and natural environment committee this week recommended the two universities be offered an 18-month option to present a proposal to put the joint school, to be called the New Zealand School of Music, on the former Circa site.

The proposal, part of the Civic Square Management Plan, has to be confirmed by the full Council.

Professor David Mackay, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University and Professor Ken Heskin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Massey University, welcomed the Council's proposal.

The site would be an ideal location for the School and would build on Wellington's reputation as New Zealand's creative capital, they said.

"This is a hugely attractive site. It will become a hub for creative activity in the city. It is a fantastic location, right on the water in downtown Wellington."

The School aimed to collaborate strongly with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Wellington Sinfonia, they said.

"Being so close to these two orchestras will be ideal for our students. The site offers a unique opportunity to create a vibrant downtown location for the School. It seems only appropriate given the land's artistic past that it again is put to creative purposes.

"The site has the advantages of being on the doorstep of the Michael Fowler Centre where major concerts are performed. Likewise Civic Square would also be a key venue for students to perform in lunchtime concerts. We see the School not just as a national centre for excellence in music, but as an attractive asset for the whole community."

The New Zealand School of Music would confirm Wellington’s position as the national leader in music education. The city’s reputation as the cultural centre of New Zealand would be enhanced. Pooling student talent would lead to the development of outstanding orchestras and musical groups, increasing the capacity for professional quality productions.

"By combining the resources of our two existing music schools, we believe we can create a centre that is far more than just the sum of its two former parts. It will be a centre of national and international standing and, being based in the Capital, should be rightly named the New Zealand School of Music."

The two universities agreed in September to form the School that would be operative from 2004, with joint academic developments and resources to be progressed from that point onwards.

Professors Heskin and Mackay said the two universities had appointed Penny Fenwick, a former Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Victoria, as the interim director of the Joint School of Music.

"Penny Fenwick has particular skills in managing change, taking people from diverse organisations and bringing them together for a common purpose. She has amply shown those skills as the Project Manager responsible for the strategic relationship between Victoria and the Wellington College of Education, which now offer conjoint teaching degrees and share a host of common services."

ENDS

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