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Business School redevelopment nears completion

Friday, 10 November 2017

Glass etchings by Ngāi Tahu artist Ross Hemera are a feature of the nearly-renovated Otago Business School Building.

An installation by Ngāi Tahu artist Ross Hemera, inspired by a Ngāi Tahu narrative about the Āraiteuru waka, now hangs in the nearly-renovated Business School building.

A distinctive 10 metre sculpture, recently installed in the newly renovated Otago Business School, signals the redevelopment is close to completion.

Furniture will start to arrive in the new ground floor space on 30 November, and the redeveloped building will be blessed on 6 December at 7am with a whakawatea. The University graduation brunch will be held in the new space on 13 December.

The new shared study and collaboration space is inspired by early Māori trade and enterprise in Otago and the resilience and survival of the skilled travellers, as told in the story of the legendary Āraiteuru waka.

The shared teaching, study and social spaces in the School’s new common area will be known as Te Wao Nui.

Ngāi Tahu artist Ross Hemera’s installation, now suspended from the ceiling above this shared space, is a stunning piece of work.

Inspired by the Ngāi Tahu narrative about the Āraiteuru waka, the sculpture is a modern interpretation of ancient Māori rock art. While the work is inspired by the story, it is not a literal illustration or translation – it is a visual exploration of notions about navigation, sustenance and preservation.

Specially designed etchings on glasswork around the shared space are also inspired by the rock art of the South Island’s earliest occupants, and reflect migration and settlement.

Mr Hemera’s etchings continue the narrative and reference Ranginui (sky), tīpuna (ancestors), and ngā ika’ (water creatures). The importance of freshwater life in the Otago area is alluded to many times, from wading birds through to the mighty toroa (southern royal albatross), and to the rivers that are habitat for Ikamaru such as tuna (eels) and kokopu (giant whitebait). The Otago headland is also represented.

Also part of the space on this floor is a café overlooking the Leith. Te Mātiti was the name chosen for the café by building users. A place of sustenance and shelter, the name recognises the nourishment for all that comes from a mātiti, a tree where birds gather to feed.

A new and more accessible street entrance from Union Street East at ground level is also now almost complete, creating a more recognisable and inviting main access.

The Dean’s Office has already relocated into its new ground floor office. The Otago MBA, formerly located in the then unconnected lower-ground floor wing of the building, will move into its first floor area early next year.

Work will soon start on restoring the Lower Ground (old MBA space) for taught masters’ students and the DBA use in 2018. Food Science PhD students will also be based there. The carpark and basement will remain a Naylor Love compound until the end of the year.

The construction work on the redevelopment of two floors of the Commerce Building started in October 2016, to bring it into line with a more modern learning environment, and to replace the wet and cold environment, exacerbated by leaks and the lack of a wind-proof door.

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