The Tauranga CBD Campus building stands on the high point of Te Papa Peninsula. Its powerful presence delivers a change-maker for tertiary education in the region. Two decades of community lobbying and fund raising have created an 8400sqm state-of-the-art multi-purpose teaching and research facility. One thousand students and staff activate the building, with multi-purpose spaces and places for the local community.
The project is the first of its kind in New Zealand, founded by the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Campus Trust (TECT) through a collaborative partnership initiative between the University of Waikato, Te Wananga o Awanuiarangi and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. A key early Trust decision was to locate the campus centrally in the Tauranga CBD, adjacent to the Bongard Centre of Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. As the project developed, a streetscape project was also added by Tauranga Council to embrace the inaugural Campus building as part of Tauranga city.
The building design is innovative, delivering on the aspirations for a bicultural learning experience common to the Tertiary partnership members. The mana whenua engagement with the local hapu, Ngai Tamarawaho, and the Jasmax Waka Maia team was a powerful contributor driving a unique design narrative. A cultural framework emerged during the brief and early concept phases, developing through detailed design and culminating in a number of artworks by Tangata Whenua.
Similarly, the primary building elements were based on bicultural concepts such as the Mangopare, or Hammerhead, shark concept behind the Kowhaiwhai pattern on the tahuhu in Huria Marae Wharenui.
For mana whenua the Mangopare speaks to human tenacity and resilience. For the external façade the Mangopare became an array of folded matt black metal panels shielding the building from the elements while filtering light for the teaching spaces behind. These narratives and the cultural framework anchor the project into the stories of the region and provide a compelling relationship to the history of Tauranga Moana.
Functionally, the cutting-edge building provides an innovative 200-seat lecture theatre, a multi-function space with noho capability (overnight stay), a café, computer labs and a range of flexible flat floor teaching spaces. There is also an administration hub and informal common areas for studying and socialising, together with bookable public spaces for business, industry and the community.
The campus opened to students in Semester 1, 2019.