The Minister of Education Hon Chris Hipkins officially opened Rehua on 25 June along with Chancellor | Tumu Kaunihera Sue McCormack and Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae Professor Cheryl de la Rey.
Rehua brings the College of Education, Health and Human Development from the Dovedale campus to the central campus for the first time, joined by the Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE), and MBA and Business Taught Masters programmes.
Designed to facilitate collaboration and cultural inclusiveness, Rehua features significant cultural elements, including an exquisitely carved timber ceiling inside the flagship Te Moana Nui a Kiwa room and a Pasifika tapa cloth outside the same room. The building’s outstanding design was recently recognised with two New Zealand Institute of Architects Canterbury branch awards; for interior and architecture in the Education Building award category.
Staff and students gather each weekday morning to sing waiata and karakia together and are also invited to participate in a weekly kapa haka practice.
Rehua – design features and naming
Name: Rehua is spoken of as a chief among stars. It is associated with wellness, healing and leadership, as well as the bright star in the sky that signals the start of summer. The name was gifted by mana whenua Ngāi Tūāhuriri.
Design elements: The themes of weaving and mountains are present through tiling, wood panelling and carving designs and motifs.
The panelling has the Poutama pattern symbolising various levels of learning and intellectual achievement. Some say they represent the steps Tāne-o-te-wānanga ascended to the topmost realm in his quest for superior knowledge and religion.
The tile pattern is symbolic of a leaf pattern in the native forest.
The colour palette chosen for each floor represents an aspect of the natural surroundings rising up from:
- L0 – Whenua (Earth)
- L1 – Maunga (Mountain)
- L2 – Tarutaru (Vegetation)
- L3 – Kowhai (Yellow flower)
- L4 – Ra (Sun)
- L5 – Roto (Lake)
- L6 – Rangi (Sky)
The tapa cloth outside Te Moana Nui a Kiwa is a traditional Pasifika pattern.
The carved timber panelling outside Te Moana Nui A Kiwa uses a traditional pattern and is randomly spaced symbolising the islands spread across the Pacific.
Carved timber ceiling panels inside Te Moana Nui A Kiwa are from the UC-commissioned Kowhaiwhai collection of Maori artworks.
Te Reo and English are used for signage and wayfinding.
Community: The community engagement hub in the southeast corner of level 1 is seen as a central place for students to debate, to meet socially, to meet with community groups and generally support their own community.
The informal teaching spaces and community engagement hub are very popular with students.