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Wintec’s Modern Wharenui Taking Shape

Wintec’s Modern Wharenui Taking Shape

A wharenui with a modern twist is starting to take shape on Wintec’s Hamilton city campus.

Its design is a contemporary version of a traditional wharenui and will feature three areas. A whare rūnanga (meeting house), whare kai (dining room and kitchen) and te tari (the office). A large covered courtyard will double as an additional space and social gathering area.

The wharenui will primarily be used as a teaching space but will also be a key events space, a place to embrace Māori, Pasifika and other cultures and communities, and an area for staff and students to meet for hui (meetings or social gatherings), karakia (prayer) and waiata (song).

Wintec Chief Executive Mark Flowers says “Our new wharenui will enhance Māori achievement at Wintec by supporting students, staff and the community with their mātauranga Māori (Māori education) and tikanga (Māori customs and traditions) It will provide a spiritual home and identity for Māori on campus. It will also be used to showcase Māori culture to our many international visitors. ”

The wharenui carries the same name as Wintec’s previous wharenui, Te Kākano a te Kaahu, and honours two prominent leaders who had a special relationship with Wintec – the late Māori Queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu and former Wintec Kaumatua Dr Hare Puke.

Tainui carver Warren McGrath from Ngāti Raukawa has been commissioned to create carvings for the wharenui. Warren is one of Tainui’s new generation of expert master carvers and a former Wintec student who completed his Māori Trades Training when Wintec was Waikato Polytechnic. His carvings and projects include the gateway at Auckland Airport, a war canoe built for King Tūheitia and the entrance at Sport Waikato which incorporates a combination of carved wood and stainless steel.

The $2.2 million wharenui is expected to completed in January next year. It is part of Wintec’s campus modernisation programme which has recently seen the refurbishment of Wintec House, the opening of Rotokauri campus hub, and the Gallagher Hub.

“It is great to see the programme in full swing and positively changing the look and feel of our environment for our students, staff and community to enjoy.”

Historical Note: The wharenui is being built on top of the hill, opposite the Gallagher Hub. This land is of historical importance to Māori and belonged to local hapu Ngati Wairere. Many years ago, a Tuahu (ceremonial altar) named Te Ahurewa stood on the peak of the ridge and protected the Mauri (life force) of the hill, its fertility and associated life sustaining properties. The hill was also an observation point from which pre-European Māori watched for the skies for the appearance of certain stars and constellations which marked the timing for different phases of planting and harvesting of crops.


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