Change is on the agenda as Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre celebrated its takeover of Telford from Lincoln University at a ceremony yesterday.

Members of Lincoln University, Taratahi, the Telford Farm board, Telford students and representatives from the Clutha district assembled at Telford to celebrate Taratahi taking over the campus after Lincoln pulled support from its division last year.

It was announced in July that Taratahi would be taking over from Lincoln and the transition took effect on August 1.

Yesterday marked a chance for those involved to celebrate overcoming the difficult times the agricultural institute had gone through.


At the celebration, Taratahi chief executive Arthur Graves said there would be some change as Taratahi moved forward with its plans for Telford.

"We may reshape [Telford] slightly but we'll do that together.

"Our job is to grow farmers that are not of the past, but of the future.''

Telford would retain its name.

"We want to take the Telford brand forward into the future with us.''

Taratahi board chairwoman Mavis Mullins said she looked forward to a "real and valued'' partnership.

Lincoln vice-chancellor Prof Robin Pollard said it was a coming together of different people.

He said during the discussions with Taratahi, Lincoln looked first to its responsibilities to the students and staff.

Part of the negotiations ensured staff received the same or similar benefits and contracts so there was little disruption during the changeover.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said change was inevitable.

"Quite possibly, Telford will never be the same but for Clutha it will always be Telford.''
Most importantly Telford was all about the people, Mr Cadogan said.

He acknowledged the staff, who had remained "resolute'' while negotiations between Lincoln and Taratahi were being conducted and Telford's future remained uncertain.
It was now important to look to the future, he said.

"Without the support and vision for the future, things could have been very grim around here.''

Lincoln had offered IT, technical and student administrative support during the transition.
Those graduating this year will do so with Lincoln University qualifications.

Students enrolled next year will graduate with Taratahi qualifications.

Following the formal proceedings, staff and students met for food in the dining hall.