Two East Coast women appointed to the reconstituted Eastern Institute of Technology Council will provide robust representation for the people of Tairāwhiti, says Council Chair David Pearson.
School principal Nori Parata and businesswoman Sheryl Smail both served on the Tairāwhiti Polytechnic Council, Mrs Smail as deputy chair.
“Nori and Sheryl bring a special set of skills which will undoubtedly add value to Council deliberations,” said Mr Pearson. “They are high calibre appointees who have a good understanding of education and in particular Tairāwhiti”s needs.”
Proposed by Tairāwhiti, the merger of EIT Hawke”s Bay and the Tairāwhiti Polytechnic took effect on January 1 this year. The merger impacted on the composition of EIT”s Council, as legislation limits the number of Council members possible, restricting the ability of Council to make appointments from Tairāwhiti.
As a result, Hastings chartered accountant and deputy mayor Cynthia Bowers submitted her resignation from EIT”s Council in December to allow the Council to make new appointments from Tairāwhiti.
Mrs Bowers served nearly two years on Council. Mr Pearson said her contribution was outstanding, bringing both business acumen and significant governance experience to Council, which was particularly valuable during the period of change associated with the merger.
“It was with reluctance that Council accepted Mrs Bowers” resignation,” said Mr Pearson. “It is only the limitation of current legislation that has made this necessary, and it is a pity that we now lose Mrs Bowers” expertise and experience, but at the same time we are very pleased to have such outstanding new appointments in Nori and Sheryl.”
Of Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu descent, Ms Parata has been principal of Tolaga Bay Area School and Kuranui since 1998. During a long association with Tairāwhiti Polytechnic, she was a lecturer in Massey University papers from 1995-1997 and then manager of the Department of Social Sciences until 1998.
Ms Parata said she was excited by the merger.
“I was part of the Council that made the decision to look for a partner. Merging with EIT has ensured our future as a tertiary educator, and I am keen now to represent the people of Tairāwhiti and particularly the iwi on the Council of the enlarged organisation.”
A high proportion of Tairāwhiti”s population is Māori, and Ms Parata said she was eager that Māori have the opportunity to participate in tertiary education – for their own sake and ultimately for the benefit of all of New Zealand.
Mrs Smail strongly believes the Tairāwhiti community needs local access to high quality tertiary education provision and sees the merger offering the potential to achieving this in a sustainable way.
“As an EIT Council member, I will have the opportunity to monitor the performance of the merged entity to ensure that the commitments made to the Tairāwhiti community and to central government are honoured.
“However, I want to stress that I see these commitments as the base line only. My passion for being part of EIT”s leadership is motivated by building on that baseline to achieve an institution that goes from strength to strength in meeting and exceeding the tertiary education expectations of both the Hawke”s Bay and Tairāwhiti communities.”