Whitireia Community Polytechnic is proposing to close its Kāpiti campus as it looks to merge with the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec).

"The current campus-based approach is not meeting the needs of local students and the community, which has been reflected in the declining student enrolments from 233 students in 2013 to 67 in 2018," Whitireia chief executive Chris Gosling said.

"The Kāpiti campus in its current form is not financially viable.

"We will engage with the Kāpiti community during 2019 to develop a viable model for delivering education that meets the needs of the Kāpiti community."


The merger, called E Tū Ma Tātou – Our People. Our Challenges. Our Future. is about restoring the insitutions' financial position and strengthening vocational education across the Wellington region.

"The educational performance of WelTec and Whitireia is strong however we face serious challenges including a weak financial situation and falling enrolments.

"Over the past 18 months WelTec and Whitireia have made significant changes to stabilise our financial situation and ensure we better match our programmes to meet student demand however our financial position is still fragile.

"We must restore our financial viability and lay the foundations for growth, so we can continue to provide quality vocational training and learning that meets the needs of industry, students, iwi and the community.

"We have operated our two institutions side by side with a common council and executive for a significant period.

"It's now time to further simplify how our two organisations work together by considering a merger to create a single, stronger vocational education and training provider for the Wellington region.

"Integrating our two institutes would simplify the experience for students, achieve financial savings, and remove duplication and complexity for staff thereby allowing them to fully focus on offering high-quality vocational learning and support for students."

He said views from staff, iwi and stakeholders on the proposal will inform a business case that WelTec and Whitireia will submit to the Tertiary Education Commission later this year for ministerial consideration.

"If the business case for integration is accepted, the Minister of Education would consult with staff, students, iwi and community on a proposal to integrate before making a final decision.

If approved, students of Whitireia Community Polytechnic would transition to become students of the Wellington Institute of Technology.

Whitireia would support students with the transfer, including liaising with StudyLink and Immigration NZ.

Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan said the possible closure of the Kāpiti campus was disappointing and potential loss of a small number of jobs sad.

"I'm confident anyone losing jobs at Whitireia Kāpiti will quickly find new opportunities."

He felt the decision wasn't entirely surprising given the institution's financial deficit.

"Whitireia and WelTec jointly received a $15 million bailout by the Ministry of Education.

"One of the key reasons why polytechnics are finding it hard to attract fulltime students is the healthy employment figures with the young preferring to get straight into paying jobs rather than studying.

"I take heart that Whitireia's rationalisation includes exploring the option of still providing courses at the place of work like caregiving qualifications for workers at their place of work in retirement homes."

Mr Gurunathan said the health of the district's economy continued to be buoyant despite the proposal to close the campus.

"This loss is more that offset by the recent police announcement of 130 new jobs at its call centre [in Paraparaumu] with projections of this climbing to 300 in the future."

The possible closure of the Whitireia campus would bring to an end a long historical link with Kāpiti going back to 1988 when courses were first offered in the district.

Expansion led to the purchase of a 4ha block at Lindale for the creation of its Kāpiti campus before they moved to the current leased site in Kāpiti Rd, Paraparaumu, in 2012.