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Pou designer and carver Katz Maihi of Whakatane, outside Student Central at the Albany campus, with the first pou being lowered into place behind him.

 

Steel pou bring Maori presence to Albany

Seven contemporary stainless steel pou (sculptured poles) were installed at the Albany campus this week. The pou, which will provide a distinctive Maori presence and cultural symbol for students' educational journey, will be blessed along with the new student amenities centre at a dawn ceremony on February 8.

Six pou are five metres high and 300mm in diameter, and the seventh is 6.5m and 400mm wide. Each has a meaning, with wording and designs digitally polished onto the surface, while the remaining area has been bead-blasted to give contrasting textured and matte surfaces. The first has the word Kakano to represent the seeding of a thought, and the student, and the seventh and tallest pou has the words Tiki Tiki o Rangi, or the highest place in the heavens to represent ultimate achievement, in this case academic excellence.

Made by Hamilton firm Stainless Design, they were welcomed to the campus by local kaumatua as well as the man who designed them, Whakatane artist and carver Katz Maihi of Toitu Design. Mr Maihi says his design reflects Massey’s principles of inclusion and achievement embracing all ethnicities and cultures represented in the student population. “Each of the seven pou is a stepping stone of progression, acknowledging the personal and academic achievement of the students.”

Campus kaiwhakaruruhau (regional advisor Māori) Donald Ripia says the pou provide a visible reminder that Albany is a place where Maori students, staff and visitors feel welcome. The innovative design features and materials reflect the University’s focus on innovation in teaching and learning.

They were unloaded by crane and positioned in a circle to embody the core principle of the University’s Maori learning philosophy, Te Kunenga ki Purehuroa – from inception to infinity.

The new $15m centre, dubbed Student Central and due to open in Orientation week starting February 20, will be a hub for the 7000 Albany students, with an outdoor area encircled by the pou, a food hall with an indoor/outdoor social and dining space, cafes, shops, students' association offices, Maori and Pasifika student centres, clubs, and health and counselling services.

 

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