Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban has welcomed the announcement of a new university campus for Counties Manukau, saying increased education and training opportunities will particularly benefit our Pacific communities.
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson announced today that the government has contributed a $25 million capital grant to Auckland University of Technology (AUT) which recently purchased the Manukau campus site; it will be opening its doors to students in 2009.
"Auckland, known as the capital of the Pacific, is home to two-thirds of New Zealand's Pacific population, with half of these people living in Counties Manukau," said Laban.
"A university in this community with a young, diverse and growing Pacific population will ensure increased opportunities for engagement and achievement in tertiary education."
"Our government is committed to encouraging an educated and skilled Pacific workforce, critical to the future of New Zealand. Today's announcement ensures that our Pacific people have increased opportunities to reach their full potential," Laban said.
Laban said that AUT's dedication to Pacific achievement in tertiary education has seen an increase of 25 per cent in the number of Pacific students enrolled in degree studies at AUT between 2003 and 2007.
"Pacific people are increasingly becoming involved in tertiary education and we only want to see this improve further, particularly for our Pacific women. A new university campus in Manukau is an important step in maintaining and advancing this momentum, benefiting our Pacific communities, the Auckland region and our nation," Laban said.