Name Explored For New Institution

15 Apr 2016

Over the past week, Council members and staff from Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic have been engaging with stakeholders in the wider Bay of Plenty about the intended name of the new merged institution – Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. The name has been gifted by local Iwi.

With only three weeks remaining before the merger of Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology, tertiary education in the Bay of Plenty is about to enter a new era. The merger date is 1 May 2016.

Cathy Cooney, Council Chair, has been working alongside fellow Council members, the interim Chief Executive, Dr Neil Barns, and Bentham Ohia, the Council’s Engagement Manager, to talk with a broad range of stakeholders on the naming of the new institution.

“The next phase is submitting our intended name to Minister Joyce for him to publish in the Gazette,” said Cathy. “Our intended name is Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, a name that we feel is distinctive, innovative and embracing of our region.”

“We believe to help signify new beginnings, it’s important our new institution has a new name. It’s also important that there is no perception of one or other existing institution being favoured over the other. We wanted a name that respects all people of the region, is aspirational and forward looking. In particular, it’s important that any new name should recognise and reflect the significance of the Māori character of the region. To help us achieve this, we felt it was appropriate to gift the naming process to Iwi.”

Iwi leaders from the around the region subsequently met at a number of hui before they collectively  presented their agreed name to the Council. The gifted name, Toi Ohomai, encapsulates the aspirational journey of life.

“It is a name that is inclusive and welcoming of all peoples of the region, regardless of their origin or circumstances. The combination of a Māori name and Institute of Technology, we believe, will appeal strongly in national and international education markets once it is accompanied with the compelling backstory. We want Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology to be recognised as an educational institution delivering excellence in vocational and professional education. We also want it to stand for an institution that works in partnership with its communities, with employers, and be an entity they connect with, can feel proud of and have a sense of ownership of.”

On 9 December 2015 the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce, announced the approval of the merger and on 1 February the new institution was formally established under the interim name, Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. In March the founding Council members for the new institution were appointed. The final merger of the two institutions will occur on 1 May 2016.

 Media Backgrounder: The meaning of Toi Ohomai

Toi – Aspiring to and achieving great heights.

Ohomai – To be awakened and inspired through our learning, to positively transform our world and to remember where we come from.

Bentham Ohia, the Council’s Engagement Manager, coordinated the naming focused hui throughout the region in association with the Iwi leaders from Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa and the Iwi of Tauranga Moana. 

“Toi Ohomai acknowledges the collective Iwi relationships across the wider Waiariki Bay of Plenty region including Tainui with delivery of programmes in Tokoroa,” said Bentham.

Toi references both students and staff in pursuit of excellence and achieving their learning and teaching goals.

Oho means to be awakened and reflects the learning journey of students that often involves a positive shift in their mind-set.

The name Mai is significant to our region, it references the traditional iwi geographical markers of the landscape from across our region (Mai i nga Kuri a Wharei ki Tikirau, Mai Maketu ki Tongariro).

It also expresses our spirit of ‘Welcome or Haere Mai’ – we are inclusive of all peoples, our local students living in this region, other domestic students from across the country and our international students from across the world.

Image: Cathy Cooney, Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Council Chair

Page last updated: 02 May 2017