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Clark: New Manukau campus for AUT

Thursday 3 July 2008


Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Announcement of new campus for Auckland University of Technology in Counties Manukau


640 Great South Road
Manukau

9.30 am

Thursday 3 July 2008


It’s a great pleasure for me to be here today to make an historic announcement : that on this site Counties Manukau is to have its first dedicated university campus.

Today our government is announcing that a capital grant of $25 million has been made to the Auckland University of Technology to purchase this former Carter Holt Harvey site for an AUT campus in the heart of Manukau City.

Counties Manukau has New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing population of under-25 year olds – indeed forty per cent of its population is under 25.

It is a highly ethnically diverse population, with significant Maori, Pasifika, and Asian communities. Almost half of Auckland’s young Pasifika people live in Counties Manukau, and 44 per cent of the region’s young maori population live here.

It’s in New Zealand’s interests that our young people in Counties Manukau do well. The education services they have access to have a big part to play in that.

We have good tertiary education programmes being delivered in Counties Manukau, but there are not enough of them, especially at degree level. We need to be able to offer local people, young and mature, a wider range of tertiary education and training.

Right now, enrolments from Counties Manukau in undergraduate degree programmes are estimated to be only one eighth of the national average. That needs to improve if the young people of this region are to realise their career aspirations and reach their full potential.

Raising aspirations towards higher achievement at school and supporting the community to participate in tertiary education is a major goal behind this new campus. AUT is known for its commitment to and its strengths in advancing undergraduate education amongst Maori and Pacific students. The government believes it is well-placed to deliver university-level programmes locally.

Through its 19 outreach programmes, AUT is already working with local students to raise their aspirations for tertiary study, and to encourage them to succeed academically. The University started these programmes in 2004 and since then the number of students from low decile schools (deciles 1 to 4), enrolling in AUT’s undergraduate degrees has increased by 54 per cent, but that is from a very low base.

AUT is committed to working with other providers to ensure that this new campus’s programmes complement tertiary education and training already being provided in Counties Manukau.

Most importantly, AUT will now work even more intensively with the community, local business, industry and other providers to make sure the courses offered here meet the region’s growing skills needs and the aspirations of its young people and the whole community.

I commend Auckland University of Technology for taking the initiative and proposing to government that this site and its buildings should be purchased for a university campus. Indeed the buildings and the site are ideally suited for this purpose.

From early next year this campus will begin delivering programmes to around 190 equivalent fulltime students. By 2014 this will reach around 1,000, and we expect that number will continue to grow.

The first programme to be transferred here will be in Pasifika early childhood teacher training, and AUT’s midwifery programme will also have a base here. As well, the AUT’s Technology Park business incubator and associated activities will move to this site.

The Minister for Tertiary Education is also announcing today that the Tertiary Education Commission is initiating a strategic review of tertiary education provision and engagement across Auckland.

By around this time next year, the review team will be making recommendations on the Tertiary Education Commission’s investment strategy for the Auckland region.

Today is very much about celebrating Counties Manukau’s new university campus, and this big step forward for AUT.

I wish the University well as it rolls out its plans for the new campus and as it works to serve the educational needs of Counties Manukau.


ENDS

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