EIT’s new Hastings Learning Centre celebrates inclusion in expressing the best of Hawke’s Bay in art.
Local artists, who are based at Awa Ink studio in Hastings, were commissioned by EIT.
Led by renowned moko artist Tāmanuhiri Russell, they created 13 artworks for the Heretaunga Street West centre, which will open for public inquiries on Wednesday, April 18, and to students on Monday, April 30, following the mid-semester break.
The karakia (blessing) was held as an early morning ceremony on Wednesday, April 11.
The team of four artists, all Ngāti Kahungunu, were charged with creating a welcoming environment for students and staff.
“Our brief was to create something that makes visitors feel welcome and invites locals to take ownership of the space,” Tāmanuhiri said.
Adopting a collaborative approach, the group took photographs of Hawke’s Bay landmarks that included Te Mata Peak, Te Pania, Pekapeka Swamp and Maraetotara Falls and used digital technology to execute the images in perspex and metal.
“We have chosen to highlight areas that are taonga to our people, to show everyone their beauty,” Tāmanuhiri pointed out.
“It establishes pepeha [heritage and identity] in portraying maunga [mountain], awa [river], iwi and hapū. The last three we worked on feature waka, whare and tangata.”
Backlighting and LED uplights dramatise the 13 artworks, installed on columns in the centre.
Up until now, the centre has operated from the Tower Building, on the corner of Railway and Lyndon roads.
EIT purchased the Heretaunga Street property last year to provide a more central location – one that is easy to access, close to public transport and tailored to meet the needs of students and staff.
The centre will also be a shopfront for wider inquiries about EIT’s 148 programmes.
The single-storey building has been renovated and refitted, with a flexible open-plan layout to allow for more collaborative learning and an expanding suite of programmes.
As at the ‘former’ centre, retail, community and horticulture programmes will be offered, the latter in association with community groups operating existing gardens.
Barista training, te reo Māori and Māori and colonisation will be offered as short courses as firsts for the centre. A level 2 te reo Māori programme will run in the second semester.
EIT is donating furniture surplus to the new centre to Pacific Island communities.