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.
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.