Porirua Performing Arts Theatre Funding Withdrawn

Press Release – Whitireia

Chair of Whitireia NZ Council, Roger Sowry, announced today that the Council of Whitireia Polytechnic had decided to withdraw its funding for the Porirua Performing Arts Theatre. The theatre project, first planned several years ago, is a joint project with Porirua …Porirua Performing Arts Theatre Funding Withdrawn

Chair of Whitireia NZ Council, Roger Sowry, announced today that the Council of Whitireia Polytechnic had decided to withdraw its funding for the Porirua Performing Arts Theatre. The theatre project, first planned several years ago, is a joint project with Porirua City Council, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, and the Community Arts Council for a 400 seat theatre to be built on Whitireia land.

“We regret having to withdraw from the Porirua Performing Arts project and wish the project well”, Mr Sowry said.

There remains considerable uncertainty around who is going to fund the theatre, most recently estimated to cost $13.2million and to which the polytechnic was to contribute $3million in capital and $100,000 per annum in supporting operational losses for up to five years. This was to be matched by the Porirua City Council but it is understood there is still a shortfall of $3million to allow the project to proceed.

Mr Sowry noted that at the time of the planning, Whitireia was proposing to use the theatre for its Performing Arts programmes. However, the delays in getting the project started meant the polytechnic needed to find other accommodation and the programme is now highly successful in its Wellington location. “Since the initial thinking about the theatre was developed, things have changed significantly in tertiary education, especially in our funding. There is no additional capital funding available from government for any projects and our operational funding from government is capped at 2006 levels. We still have a large number of prefabs which need to be replaced with purpose built modern teaching facilities which have to be funded from our own resources.”

It is expected that the Whitireia Council will sign off soon on a major new building on its Porirua campus as part of a complete campus redevelopment plan. Mr Sowry noted, “The Theatre project has to compete against all other projects using the yardstick of providing the greatest benefit for the greatest number of students. The new buildings will make a major economic contribution to Porirua and our region.”

ENDS

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