Thriv­ing on ed­u­ca­tion

The growth of Massey at Al­bany over the past 18 years – from empty pad­docks to a mag­nif­i­cent Mediter­ranean-style struc­ture – has co­in­cided with the mas­sive ex­pan­sion and chang­ing fo­cus of the North Shore, says vicechan­cel­lor Steve Ma­harey.

North Harbour News - - NEWS -

When I first vis­ited the site in 1991 where the Al­bany cam­pus is now, you could see one house.

Since then, we have pur­pose­built this mas­sive ar­chi­tec­tural as­set with a full suite of aca­demic pro­grammes in the mid­dle of Al­bany, which is now the boom­ing heart of the North Shore.

The phe­nom­e­nal growth of Al­bany over the past two decades has co­in­cided per­fectly with the flour­ish­ing of Massey’s North Shore cam­pus.

It’s amaz­ing to think that less than two decades ago, there was noth­ing.

What a bold de­ci­sion by Al­bany’s found­ing vicechan­cel­lor Sir Neil Wa­ters to stand and look around and say: ‘‘There’s noth­ing here, but there will be’’. And there it is.

Al­though spawned from Massey’s cam­pus of ori­gin in the Manawatu, with its 83-year his­tory of agri­cul­tural, hor­ti­cul­tural and vet­eri­nary sci­ence teach­ing and re­search as well as in the hu­man­i­ties, so­cial sci­ences, earth sci­ences and ed­u­ca­tion, the Al­bany cam­pus has grown from strength to strength across the gamut of in­tel­lec­tual dis­ci­plines.

It is fit­ting that Al­bany is home to the New Zealand In­sti­tute for Ad­vanced Study, a pow­er­house of some the coun­try’s, in­deed the world’s, top brains in math­e­mat­ics, physics, chem­istry and bi­ol­ogy.

The kinds of fun­da­men­tal re­search these pas­sion­ate sci­en­tists do reg­u­larly earns in­ter­na­tional ac­co­lades – the likes of Pro­fes­sor Peter Sch­w­erdt­feger, who re­cently won the pres­ti­gious Hum­boldt Prize for his ground-break­ing work in the­o­ret­i­cal chem­istry and physics.

The depth and bold­ness of think­ing ex­em­pli­fied by those at the in­sti­tute re­flects the in­no­va­tive spirit of the en­tire Al­bany cam­pus, where bare turf was trans­formed into a su­perb teach­ing, learn­ing and re­search fa­cil­ity.

By at­tract­ing high-cal­i­bre in­ter­na­tional staff, we can be con­fi­dent we are meet­ing the needs of a bur­geon­ing lo­cal pop­u­la­tion and help­ing to har­ness its tal­ents.

Our con­nec­tions and part­ner­ships with a wide range of or­gan­i­sa­tions, com­mu­nity groups and schools un­der­pins our rai­son d’etre – to pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment where learn­ers and teach­ers thrive as they dis­cover new ways to con­trib­ute to bet­ter un­der­stand­ing the world we live in and to solv­ing its nu­mer­ous chal­lenges.

New ideas are our busi­ness. Ideas prop­erly chan­nelled and mar­keted can gen­er­ate greater eco­nomic pros­per­ity, im­prove so­cial co­he­sion and well-be­ing, and en­sure our chil­dren in­herit a sus­tain­able world.

That’s why we de­cided to launch the Fi­nance 2010 last year and as an an­nual event, in con­junc­tion with the Auck­land Cham­ber of Com­merce.

We wanted to pro­vide a plat­form for the busi­ness com­mu­nity to have face-to-face op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with the min­is­ter of fi­nance and to tackle press­ing eco­nomic is­sues of the day. And we will con­tinue on this path of con­tribut­ing ideas and mak­ing con­nec­tions that will bring about progress for our so­ci­ety, and our world.

Now, with a new era as part of the su­percity ahead of us, it is timely to con­sider the many ben­e­fits and chal­lenges for the North Shore as we em­brace change.

I’m con­vinced there is noth­ing serendip­i­tous about the fact that this mon­u­men­tal change to the way Auck­land city is gov­erned and man­aged has oc­curred at a time when the Al­bany cam­pus is poised to con­trib­ute to and lead the re­gion in a range of sig­nif­i­cant ways.

My re­cent dis­cus­sions with Sir Ron­ald Carter, head of the Com­mit­tee for Auck­land, have re­volved around Massey play­ing a thought lead­er­ship role on the North Shore.

We need to con­sider how busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity in gen­eral are go­ing to fit into this larger su­percity con­cept and to make a con­tri­bu­tion.

For ex­am­ple, work be­ing done by so­ci­ol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor Paul Spoon­ley and his team re­search­ing Auck­land’s fast­grow­ing mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties and the so­cial and eco­nomic is­sues they face is just one of the ways Massey’s Al­bany­based ex­per­tise is con­tribut­ing to shap­ing the su­percity we are part of.

That’s why the uni­ver­sity is build­ing an in­no­va­tion fo­cus into what it does in Al­bany.

We want to take ideas from the uni­ver­sity out into the bustling busi­ness com­mu­nity of the North Shore and the Auck­land re­gion.

So we’ve come from stand­ing on a hill with noth­ing around us and no uni­ver­sity, to now thriv­ing as a ma­jor half a bil­lion dol­lar as­set with 7500 stu­dents and grow­ing, and hav­ing all man­ner of good im­pacts on the re­gion.

If you want to talk to us about an idea, the door is open.

Growth curve: Massey Uni­ver­sity sits on what was a pad­dock 20 years ago.

Lead­ing the way: Massey vice-chan­cel­lor Steve Ma­harey.

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