Auckland Campus celebrates 30th birthday

Monday 20 March 2023

A tree-planting served as the ceremonial opening of the Auckland campus 30 years ago today, on 20 March 1993.

A tree-planting ceremony conducted as part of the inauguration of Massey University's new Auckland campus, 1993.

Last updated: Thursday 3 August 2023

In 1988, Former Vice-Chancellor Sir Neil Waters proposed the idea of an Auckland campus, with students who could not afford to travel to the Manawatū campus in mind. 60 per cent of Massey students outside of the Manawatū region were based in Auckland, a campus in New Zealand’s largest city made a lot of sense.

Alongside the East Precinct in Albany, a 17-hectare area of bare paddocks named Ōtehā Rohe, by manawhenua Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, was purchased and 31 pre-fabricated buildings to serve as interim classrooms. Classes began in March 1993, starting with undergraduate courses.

In the late 1990s, The College of Business was formed, comprising of the Faculty of Business Studies, the School of Aviation and the School of Applied and International Economics. The Millennium Village, which provided student accommodation, a student Study Centre, the library and the Institute of Information and Mathematical Sciences also opened their doors.

As the Honourable Sir Hugh Williams later said, in his role as Chancellor of Massey University from 1991-1997, “The Auckland campus is important for our teaching and research, our national and international standing and our staff and students.”

Vice-Chancellor Neil Waters, Chancellor Hugh Williams, Kaipara MP the honourable Lockwood Smith, and Massey University Albany Principal Ian Watson at the inauguration of Ōtehā Rohe Precinct at Massey University's brand new Auckland campus 1993.

In honour of the former Vice-Chancellor, the Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre was established in 2006, with further expansion in 2019. The expansion, which doubled the area from 2484m2 to 4373m2, provides five more classrooms on the first floor, as well as workspace for 40 staff members and doctoral students in nursing, sport and exercise and social work.

With the continued expansion of the Auckland campus, 2022 saw the practical completion of the Innovation Complex. This 10,000m2 multi-level complex provides contemporary teaching, research and office space fit for the next 40 to 50 years. The design leverages creative spaces, furnishings and the latest technology, with a strong focus on sustainability.

Auckland Regional Director Associate Professor Fiona Te Momo says our campus will flourish with our students' ambitions.

“For the past 30 years, our Auckland campus has continued to grow as a hub for 21st century education. The construction of the Innovation Complex and Sir Neil Waters building represents the latest stage of development for Ōtehā Rohe.

Also, with more than 160 homes being developed by Ngāti Whātua subsidiary Ngā Maunga Whakahii o Kaipara Whenua Hoko Holdings and Fletcher Living on the land they purchased from Massey University across from the Albany High School, we will see mana whenua as our future neighbours. With Albany as one of metropolitan Auckland's growing suburbs, Ōtehā Rohe provides a flexible design and latest technology to serve our on-going cohort of domestic and international student body.”

Ōtehā Rohe 1993

All material and photographs used were sourced from the Massey University Archives Photographic Collection.

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