Polytechnic working on new Hokitika base

By Christine Linnell

Tai Poutini Polytechnic is working on a new base of operations in Hokitika, just a few years after closing down its Hokitika campus due to the cost and low student numbers.
The proposed facility is part of the polytechnic’s strategy to give South Westland people access to tertiary education and training.
“We’re committed to having a presence in Hokitika,” chief executive Allan Sargison said.
“It gives us a presence in each major population centre, which I think is important. It will enable us to
better focus on South Westland from there.”
The polytechnic is looking at different facilities and is advertising for two or three staff, but there are no set plans for when the Hokitika base will be set up.
“We’ll take it when we can get it. We have looked at a couple of places, but we’re not waiting for anything in particular to sign up.”
Tai Poutini Polytechnic closed its Hokitika campus in January 2011, citing high running costs and low student numbers.
“That was certainly (before) the current council strategy of being a Coast-wide institution,” Mr Sargison said. “It was part of a retreat into Greymouth.”
The new office would serve as a base for a new regional manager. Eventually the polytechnic hopes to set up outposts further south.
Mr Sargison said the council would like a facility with one room for video conferencing and another room serving as a classroom, with one or two staff based in Hokitika who could come up to Greymouth when needed.
They are currently working out the specifics of programmes to support South Westland industries.
“It’s a matter of what will work. Clearly there’s quite a lot of hospitality and tourism down there, though it’s in a slightly rocky patch.”
Their next step will be to find someone to implement the overall strategy for the region.
“Being realistic, it will take two or three months before we’ve got someone in place.”