A partnership between University of Waikato and University of California will be the catalyst to rejuvenate Tauranga city and retain young people in the area.
This is the view of University of Waikato council member Paul Adams after the Californian university and Waikato signed a ground-breaking deal this week.
University of California (UC) governing board chairman Bruce Varner signed an agreement of collaboration with Waikato which would see research and resources shared, and continued student exchanges and possible lecturer exchanges.
Mr Adams, of Tauranga, and Mr Varner had been friends for more than 25 years and their shared interest in education had resulted in the professional partnership that had the potential to turn Tauranga on its head, Mr Adams said.
With the Tauranga Tertiary campus on the horizon, Mr Adams said it was exactly what Tauranga needed to lower the age demographic, develop a new tier of local young professionals, attract new business to the city and increase the average wage.
The impact of it would continue to ripple through the community, he said.
"We've been called $10 Tauranga for too long," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.
"This will be the catalyst to rejuvenate the CBD and put Tauranga in its rightful position as the best, fastest-growing city in New Zealand."
Mr Adams said the shared resources and knowledge of UC and the new Tauranga campus would "stop the leakage of our young people who leave to tertiary education outside our region".
Despite it being a University of Waikato partnership, Tauranga was Mr Adams' main focus, wanting to offer opportunities to the students of his home town. The collaboration would be focused on the courses both universities offered, which included coastal marine and freshwater, environmental science, sport, indigenous studies, agribusiness, computer science, management and education.
Mr Varner said Tauranga was a great city for students.
"The area is so attractive and it's an ideal place to have students come."
He was excited to see the universities work together and see the results of shared research and resources.
"All universities are about creating knowledge and disseminating knowledge, and I have been reading of some impressive research at Waikato," he said. "Size doesn't matter - I see plenty of natural affiliations between our two organisations."
The partnership was celebrated at a formal dinner last night at ASB Arena, featuring Dame Malvina Major as a guest performer.