Hākitekura retreat concept.
The University of Otago is to develop an academic retreat called Hākitekura at Woolshed Bay near Queenstown.
The four-hectare lakefront property at Jack’s Point was donated by the Jardine family to the University of Otago’s Foundation Trust in December 2016.
The University has worked with the Jardines to realise their vision of a sustainable centre for research and teaching in an area of outstanding natural beauty 20 minutes from Queenstown.
The existing homestead on the site will be redeveloped and a new 60-seat lecture theatre constructed to create a linked conference and seminar facility on the site. Lakeside accommodation units with 16 self-contained rooms will complete the complex.
A concept drawing of the on-site accommodation.
The world-class facility will be available for use by Otago academics, students and staff and is also expected to host visiting academics and other national and international organisations.
With Hākitekura, Otago will be the first New Zealand university to establish a permanent presence in the Queenstown-Lakes district, one of New Zealand’s fastest growing regions and an emerging education centre.
A 5-star Green Star design will be targeted for the seminar buildings and a Homestar 8 rating for the accommodation so the facility aligns with the University’s sustainability values.
The project has a construction value of around $12 million and is expected to be completed by December 2021.
Remarkables Station owners Dick and Jillian Jardine said the University had worked sensitively to respect their wishes for the property and the family’s connection to the land.
“We greatly value Otago’s world-leading research and are thankful we can now play a part in a new chapter - a facility which fulfils our vision, and honours the Hākitekura name gifted to us by Ngai Tahu,” say the Jardines.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said Hākitekura represented one of the most significant donations a New Zealand university had received.
“We are delighted to honour the Jardines’ intentions with a facility which we anticipate will help foster academic partnerships locally, nationally and internationally.
“In an increasingly competitive global environment it is important we continue to invest in top-class facilities to help attract top academics and students.
“Philanthropic giving helps support Otago’s research and teaching and University departments will be supported to use Hākitekura for learning retreats.”
Hākitekura has already been the catalyst for Otago’s partnership with the Aspen Institute New Zealand, a global partner of the prestigious Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organisation based in Washington.
Otago is the first New Zealand university to formalise links with the Aspen Institute New Zealand and Hākitekura is expected to host a number of national and international forums every year.
Aspen Institute New Zealand CEO Christine Maiden Sharp said Hākitekura’s history and location made it “very special”.
Woolshed Bay, where the retreat will feature.
“When you’re asking people to come together and try and resolve issues you really want them to focus and have a positive approach. We see Hākitekura as an ideal place to hold many of our multi-day forums and the fact that people will be able to live on site is a great bonus.”
Hākitekura will be primarily used for retreats, conferences and seminars along with research activities connected with the medical, horticultural and agricultural sciences.
It will increase the University’s presence in the Queenstown Lakes District through strengthened connections with schools, businesses, iwi and the wider community.
Publicly-accessible education activities such as open lectures, public seminars, and adult and community education courses will support community links.
Queenstown Lakes mayor, Jim Boult, described Hākitekura as “an asset our community can be proud of”.
“The Hākitekura concept embodies many of our community’s Vision Beyond 2050 aspirations. This will be a world class educational facility in a breath taking setting offering unique opportunities for learning and collaboration.
“I’m thoroughly impressed by the 5 Star Green Star design target and will look forward to development of the design. Subject to meeting the policies and objectives of our District Plan, Hākitekura will be an asset our community can be proud of. This enduring educational gift make the Jardine Family an example of philanthropy at its finest.”
When not required by the University, the facilities and accommodation will be available for commercial hire and this revenue will contribute to off-setting the operating costs of the complex.