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Massey and Victoria welcome Wellington's support

September 23, 2004

Massey and Victoria welcome Wellington's support for New Zealand School of Music

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

Victoria and Massey universities have welcomed the support of the Wellington City Council and Wellingtonians for their plans to base the New Zealand School of Music on the Jack Illot Green and former Circa Theatre site.

After considering 225 submissions on the proposal – 58 percent of which favoured the plan – the Wellington City Council today agreed to allow the two universities to build the New Zealand School of Music on the site subject to a series of conditions. An independent quantitative survey carried out for the Council showed 72 percent support.

Massey Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ken Heskin and Victoria Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor David Mackay welcomed the Council's decision as a key step towards achieving the vision of developing a national centre of musical excellence.

"The Council's decision to back the New Zealand School of Music, and its agreement to be a foundation partner, means the two universities can apply to the Government's Partnerships for Excellence Fund for financial support, safe in the knowledge that they have essential community support for the proposal," Professors Heskin and Mackay said.

Professor Mackay said he was also gratified by the support of Wellingtonians.

"When the two universities went public with the proposal in July, we urged the public to fully consider the benefits of a major public amenity that would be enjoyed by New Zealanders for generations to come," he said.

"Wellingtonians have embraced that vision and the feedback we have received has generally been very positive. They can see the educational, social and economic benefits the School will bring to the Capital and that support gives us the confidence to begin a major fundraising campaign with the knowledge that the proposal has wide public backing," Professor Mackay said.

Professor Heskin thanked all members of the public for taking the time to participate in the public consultation process.

"The wide-ranging comments and suggestions from public consultation process will be incredibly valuable in allowing us to refine and further develop the School proposal," Professor Heskin said.

The two universities believe the site offers the best location for the School because of its close proximity to key stakeholders such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Wellington Symphonia and to other performance venues.

Professor Mackay said to achieve its vision of musical excellence, the School needed a purpose-designed home, ideally with a major public amenity in the form of a new performance auditorium attached.

"An auditorium would provide a much-needed rehearsal venue for the NZSO and make a unique contribution to New Zealand in the form of our very own ‘Carnegie Recital Hall’. Placing the School in Civic Square will bring more students into the inner-city and enliven the vicinity socially and economically," Professor Mackay said.

Professor Heskin said both universities would now launch a major public fundraising campaign for the building and auditorium, linked to their joint bid for Government funding of the development.

ENDS

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