17 May 2012

Whanganui UCOL fights for Maori education facility

10:40 am on 17 May 2012

A Whanganui tertiary institution says it's prepared to fight side by side with local iwi to build a Maori education facility on the site of the old Native Land Court building.

Whanganui UCOL and Te Puna Matauranga o Whanganui are jointly applying for resource consent after the first application was declined by the Environment Court in 2010.

The project will mean demolishing the former Maori land court building, which is also being opposed by the Whanganui Historic Places Trust.

UCOL principal Julia Pedley says the project, which started in 2006, demonstrates the commitment it has to Maori tertiary students in providing a valuable new educational resource for the Whanganui community.

She says she feels UCOL and Te Puna have a very strong case.

Ms Pedley says it is the right thing to do for Whanganui Maori, and for tertiary education in the region.

The two-storey building to be called Te Whare Matauranga o Whanganui will feature local traditional designs and will provide a welcoming atmosphere to encourage more Maori to come to the river city to study.

Applications for resource consent need to be lodged with the Wanganui District Council by 24 May.