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New Creative Technologies And Arts Centre Gets the Go Ahead

Wellington Set to Compete on World Stage as New Creative Technologies And Arts Centre Gets the Go Ahead

9 September 2014

A new deal has been signed between the Wellington Institute of Technology, Whitireia Community Polytechnic and developer Willis Bond & Co which will see a truly international centre for creative technologies and arts built in the heart of Wellington by the end of 2017.

Roger Sowry, Chair of Whitireia and WelTec said, “After some 18 months of searching for a building in Wellington to house all the creative technologies and applied arts programmes that WelTec and Whitireia offer and have in the pipeline, we have signed a lease with developer Willis Bond & Co for a major new property development in Wellington. This is a turning point for tertiary education in the capital city and also for the industries and sectors of the economy that will be employing our graduates in a few years’ time.

“This new build valued at more than $80M of which WelTec and Whitireia are contributing $20M+ will be world-class. We have deliberately chosen to invest in Wellington as it is the creative and film production capital of New Zealand. Revenue from the film industry alone topped more than $700 million in 2013 in Wellington (81% of all film revenue nationally), well ahead of Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. Wellington also leads the country’s earnings for feature film revenue and revenue from post-production work and digital effects. 62% of the country’s post-production businesses are based in the Wellington region. So it makes a great deal of sense for tertiary education institutes to be making this type of investment in support of industry and its further growth.

“A lot of work will now go into designing a state of the art campus where students from many disciplines linked to the creative sectors will learn together. We have already started consulting the Wellington film, media and creative sector on how they would like to fit-out the building to ensure students are learning in the best learning environment – one that will really enhance their skills, but also mean they will enter the workforce with incredibly valuable skill levels that potentially are drawn from a range of areas such as film, media, production, photography, performing arts to name a few. More than sixty industry representatives have already indicated support for the Centre and agreed to continue to drive its industry relevance at a meeting last night.

“In this new Centre industry will be able to test ideas and offer work experience so graduates emerge with real-life skills and industry knowledge, as well as relevant formal qualifications,” says Roger Sowry.

“This has the potential to be an international school with overseas students drawn to Wellington to study,” says Eion Abernethy, Creative Director of Mission Hall Creative. “Graduates today have to work in an international environment and this Centre will provide an incredible opportunity for people to study and learn together. This Centre is set to really bolster Wellington’s reputation as a world-leader in film, creativity and innovation.”

Stuart McAra from Stirling Road and Pukeko Pictures agrees, “A very exciting feature of this Centre is its potential internationality. This major investment by Whitireia and WelTec firmly sets Wellington on the road to competing on the world stage. We are very excited to be involved.”

Mark McGuinness, Managing Director of Willis Bond & Co says, “This new build at the intersection of Dixon and Cuba Streets is the cornerstone for an exciting new development we are planning for this site. It is very rare to have the opportunity we have here to enhance such a characterful part of the city. As the flagship building we are taking great care over the plans, design and appearance of the site which WelTec and Whitireia will occupy. The historical façade will be kept intact, strengthened and restored, with a new campus building behind, designed by Athfield Architects and built by LT McGuinness.”

Whitireia Chief Executive Don Campbell said it was exciting for the two organisations to combine on the one campus, consolidating teaching and resources in a world-class state-of-the-art facility. “The co-location will allow students to learn across disciplines in a lively, creative environment, providing richer and broader education in industry-relevant skills,” he said.

WelTec Chief Executive Dr Linda Sissons said staff and practitioners would also benefit from opportunities to collaborate. “Working in multi-disciplinary teams will enable the build-up of skills reflecting the diversity of the film and creative sectors and the need to be able to effectively apply those skills across the board,” she said.


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