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Festivities to launch new Victoria campus

Media Release - 19 March 2004

Public Affairs

Festivities to launch new Victoria campus

Victoria University launches its new Pipitea Campus in downtown Wellington, in the heart of the Capital's political, legal and corporate district, with a week of festivities beginning on March 29.

Comprising the newly extended and refurbished Rutherford House, the Government Buildings Historic Reserve and the Wellington Railway Station West Wing, the Pipitea Campus brings together on one site almost all of the University's teaching and research in law, commerce, government, administration and professional development and life-long learning.

Along with the dawn ceremony and official opening, the week will be marked with guest lectures, barbeques, music, performers and a staff party. The Wellington City Council will also officially reopen the refurbished Bunny St, between Rutherford House and the Government Buildings Historic Reserve.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the launch of the Pipitea Campus was designed to showcase Victoria's research and teaching strengths to the city and its neighbours.

"While Victoria has gradually moved into the central business district as student numbers have risen over the last decade, this week of festivities officially marks the University's 'arrival' in downtown Wellington and its move to a true multi-campus operation. We spent $35 million in capital development last year across the Kelburn, Te Aro and Pipitea campuses and we're proud of the facilities we have established at Rutherford House and are still developing in the Railway West Wing."

The University enrolled 18,158 students last year, an increase of 30 percent since the year 2000. Enrolments at the end of the first week of lectures this year showed an increase of 11.8 percent on the same time last year.

The University has recently finished building two new lecture theatres on the south side of Rutherford House while refurbishing its lower floors. It has also secured a lease over 6,000m², a third of the floor space in the Wellington Railway Station, which it is strengthening and refurbishing on behalf of building's new owner, the New Zealand Government.

The festivities begin with a dawn ceremony on March 29 at Rutherford House attended by the Governor-General, the Hon Dame Silvia Cartwright, University Chancellor Rosemary Barrington, Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and representatives of Wellington's Te Atiawa iwi. Dame Silvia will unveil a new commemorative Victoria sign to mark the occasion.

At noon, Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast will officially reopen Bunny St. The former Wellington bus terminus has been transformed by the Wellington City Council into an attractive landscaped pedestrian area with limited traffic. Balloons will be released, a barbeque will be run, roving "Easter bunnies" will hand out Easter eggs, while the School of Music's big band will play.

Ms Prendergast said the Council was pleased to join with the University in marking the launch of the Pipitea Campus.

"The Council is actively working to foster redevelopment at the northern end of the central business district as part of our long-term City Gateway Programme and this project fits the bill perfectly. The presence of thousands of Victoria students will further enliven the area as well as contributing to the life of businesses in the area."

Throughout the week, in the morning and evening, students from the School of Music will serenade commuters passing through the Wellington Railway Station. The School of Music students will perform from 7.45-9.15am and 4.45-6.15pm.

Two invitation-only guest lectures will be held in the evenings of March 30 and March 31 while a breakfast for key University stakeholders will be held in the morning of March 31. During the week, the University will also hold lunchtime barbeques for students on March 30 and 31. On April 2, campus neighbours from local business, offices and schools, will be invited to lunchtime "open home" to inspect the new facilities.

Media are invited to attend the dawn ceremony at 6.15am on Monday March 29 and the opening of Bunny St at 12.15pm on March 29.

The dawn ceremony, the opening of Bunny St and the morning and afternoon performances by the School of Music in the Wellington Railway Station would make for good photo opportunities. Please contact Public Affairs for further information.

ENDS

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