Fri 15 Dec 2017

A festive season message

I suspect I am like anyone else who begins a Festive Season message – there are parts of me which are delighted to see the year-end and other parts which reflect on the successes enjoyed over those 365 days.

In 2017, WITT made a concerted effort to let our community know about our stories, both the successes and the challenges.

WITT News spent 20 weeks on Page 5 of the Taranaki Daily News each Friday before migrating online in the form of a newsletter, which targets our stakeholders.

The stories were often inspiring – in our first two weeks, we reported that WITT has joined Inglewood learning institutions to be part of a community of learning which created a new chain from preschool to tertiary education, then reported how one the students from the successful Build a Bach project has secured an apprenticeship.

We reported WITT’s nursing students had recorded a 100 percent exam pass rate and saw tutor Diana Fergusson head to Spain to be part of a major international nursing conference.

The public flocked to Impressions restaurant when our hospitality and cookery staff announced international food stall would be open and nearby in F Block our art students staged highly successful exhibitions.

The arrival of Dr Lily George from Northland was significant for WITT as she quickly established a public lecture series on our campus at Te Piere. The relevance of the issues discussed here was underlined recently when the Health ministry changed its mind about opposing vaping as an alternative to tobacco, in line with what our first speaker Marewa Glover called for.

None of these successes would have been possible without the enthusiasm and skills of the WITT tutors and staff who continue to be our most valuable asset.

We also announced changes to the WITT Council and the appointments of Stuart Trundle, Michael Braggins and Charlotte Littlewood, plus Daniel Fleming as an adviser.

WITT Council and Executive have been challenged throughout the year following an External Evaluation Review by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. We have spent the year – this week included - making the improvements called for in the report. We are confident the NZQA will have its faith in our systems restored early in in 2018.

With a change in Government and policies, we are also stepping into the Fees Free education environment in the New Year and we look forward to welcoming students who take advantage of it.

We have finished the year with a concerted effort to better cater for our business community through WITT Commercial, led by Brian Souness, and we expect we will see the fruits of his labour sooner rather than later.

The past year has been a challenge and we have risen to it – next year will be no different. There will be obstacles on the road – some we know will be there and others will take us by surprise. Mā mahi, ka ora.

From everyone at WITT, Mere Kirihimete and Happy New Year.