A Tai Tokerau University hub would bring life back to an inner city challenged through past urban planning decisions, Whangārei Chamber of Commerce CEO Stephen Smith believes.

There were some great new positive things proposed for the area in Whangārei District Council's Whangārei City Centre Plan 2017 for managing central city development into the future, Smith said.

Bringing people to the university would positively support this plan.

Smith said the next step was mid-year with the creation of a governing body and initial feasibility study.
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He has had positive feedback from networking the proposal across a range of organisations over the last year. A central city Tai Tokerau University hub would help revitalise the area and help attract residents.

University students would live in central city accommodation, which would help bring the area to life.

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"We have very few people living in our central city at present," Smith said.

Inner city residents including the university students and others would in turn help local businesses as they bought coffees or breakfasts or did other things such as go to the gym or out for dinner.

Steven Smith, Northland Chamber of Commerce CEO, says having university students living in central city accommodation would help bring the downtown area to life.
Steven Smith, Northland Chamber of Commerce CEO, says having university students living in central city accommodation would help bring the downtown area to life.

Smith said a Tai Tokerau University hub would provide central administration and support services for the education site.

"We'd look at the faculties we wanted in the Tai Tokerau University. We'd approach universities across New Zealand to bring these faculties to our university." S

A range of academic and hands-on vocational courses would be offered. NorthTec courses would also be part of Tai Tokerau University offerings.

Northland was now the fastest-growing region in New Zealand. Growth without provision for young people's tertiary education made no sense.

Providing local educational opportunity for young people was a crucial for upskilling them to be part of the growth, Smith said.