Today has marked the transition of UCOL becoming part of the national vocational education provider Te Pūkenga, 130 years after the Manawatū campus of UCOL was founded.
Executive Director – UCOL, Dr Linda Sissons, says ceremonies were held at each of the four campuses in Manawatū, Whanganui, Wairarapa, and Horowhenua.
“Our Horowhenua campus reflected on the past and looked forward to the future as Te Pūkenga over shared kai yesterday between kaimahi (staff), ākonga (learners), and local iwi Muaūpoko Tribal Authority.”
This morning, kaimahi at our Wairarapa campus marked the occasion with a shared breakfast and planted a harakeke alongside our stream on campus, signifying the weaving of our organisation into Te Pūkenga.
“It was wonderful to come together and stop, reflect, and celebrate all we have achieved as a campus for the community to date, and all that we will continue to do as we move forward as part of the Te Pūkenga whānau.”
Today, Manawatū and Whanganui campuses both marked the occasion with dawn ceremonies.
“Whanganui kaumātua, kaimahi, ākonga and community representatives gathered for a karakia on Whanganui Awa, blessing our UCOL mauri (life-force) over to Te Pūkenga. A kōwhai tree was then planted back on campus to signify our new beginning, the four boulders which represent each of the four maunga; Ruapehu, Taranaki, Nguahoe, and Tongariro were acknowledged and breakfast was shared,” says Dr Sissons.
Celebrations at Manawatū were heightened with the presence of Te Pūkenga senior staff and Acting Chief Executive, Peter Winder, along with rangatira from Rangitāne o Manawatū.
“The dawn ceremony was incredibly special and that was certainly felt by all those in the room this morning,” says Dr Sissons.
“Now our mauri has been exchanged with Te Pūkenga there is excitement for our new path ahead as Te Pūkenga.
“We were also honoured to be gifted with a toki from Te Pūkenga named Te Tauira.”
“The ceremony was supported by performances from UCOL’s kapa haka group, which were beautiful and helped intensify the emotions felt by all, and was followed by a shared breakfast.”