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the unitec magazine of innovation and research WINTER 09


From tots to tertiary Two education projects assess pioneering approches to fulfilling lives – p6

Colonial buildings in German Samoa Schaafhausen’s role in modernising architecture – p8

Kumeu wine country Stages in growing a sustainable wine trail – p10

In the limelight Helen Gremillion adds zest to practice-based research – p11


editor Jade Reidy design Brigitte Smits cover image Sav Schulman printing Norcross Group of Companies Advance is published by Unitec New Zealand ISSN 1176-7391 phone +64 9 815 2945 freephone 0800 10 95 10 web address Carrington Rd, Mt Albert, Private Bag 92025, Auckland Mail Centre, Auckland 1142, New Zealand

Disclaimer Unitec New Zealand has used reasonable care to ensure that the information in this publication is accurate at the time of publication. However, to the extent permitted by law, Unitec is not liable for, and makes no warranties or representations as to such accuracy and may change or correct any such information without prior notice.

jill kennedy graduate DIPLOMA IN design

The months since the last issue of Advance was published have been a time of significant change at Unitec. The first phase of restructuring as part of Unitec’s Sustainability Project has now been implemented. Besides a new face to this editorial, you’ll also notice the inclusion of postgraduate research stories in this issue of Advance magazine. The Research Office and Postgraduate Centre have combined resources to manage both staff and student research. In addition to promoting and coordinating research across the institution, this office continues to be responsible for external research contracts and grants management, intellectual property, the management of internal research funding and ethics, managing the Performance Based Research Fund process, and managing processes for postgraduate student research proposals, supervision, examination, and scholarships; and of course, Advance magazine.

Despite the structural changes research activity continues apace, as you will see from the contents of this issue. Unitec staff innovation and inventiveness shine through in Rob Shaw’s carbon fibre boat, Tom Qi’s compressed air golf cart and Roger Bateman’s collaboration with Scion on a bioplastic office chair. Student research is profiled in the study of the Kumeu wine trail and of Pacific Island business ventures in New Zealand. From the new Faculty of Creative Industries & Business, leading researchers Dr Christoph Schnoor and Richard Fahey are featured. The Department of Education continues to be a powerhouse of research activity as is evidenced by the work of Dr Jenny Collins on the first generation of home science graduates and Dr Jenny Ritchie on bicultural early childhood education. The international nature of high-end research is highlighted by Professor Branko Mitrovic’s prestigious award from the German Humboldt Foundation. Finally, we give the limelight to Associate Professor Helen Gremillion from the Department of Social Practice, whose appointment last year signalled a commitment to strengthening the research culture within that department. Since being appointed to the role of Dean of Research in February of this year I have been impressed by the quality and diversity of research activity this institution supports. In keeping with Unitec’s mission, much of it is practically oriented and socially useful. I hope you enjoy reading about it. CONTACT Dr Simon Peel Dean, Research Email:


HR strategies for Rosebank businesses Recruiting new staff can be expensive and time-consuming. To support the Rosebank business precinct in attracting appropriately skilled employees, Unitec’s Department of Management added an extra dimension of human resource strategies to last year’s skills and education survey.

Boosting carbon levels in soil While forests accumulate carbon, soil is our major terrestrial carbon reservoir. Every one percent increase in organic matter in soil sequesters 20 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Effecting this small increase in all arable land across the globe would solve the carbon crisis says Unitec’s Horticulture Lecturer Reg Lewthwaite.

From face-to-face interviews with about one fifth of all Rosebank companies, the survey found that two thirds of businesses had job vacancies for up to three months, with a further one third experiencing vacancies for up to six months. 25 percent needed more qualified tradesmen, 21.8 percent sales and service staff, 12.5 percent technicians, and 9.9 percent unskilled workers. The easiest category to recruit for was sales and service, followed by clerical, then unskilled workers. The most difficult category was professionals, followed by tradesmen. Professionals were best recruited online and by recruitment agencies while media channels such as newspapers worked best for tradesmen, but not at all for unskilled workers who were better recruited through WINZ or machine operators who came through recruitment agencies. The most frequently used recruitment method was word of mouth but it was successful only for the lower-skilled job categories. The most neglected method was through trade fairs and conferences, primarily because companies have little time and money to pursue these channels. CONTACT Dr Howard Frederick Professor Dept of Management Faculty of Creative Industries & Business Email:

Yet, many farming practices, including land cultivation, are causing soil carbon to decline. A shift from cultivation to mulching could substantially increase our soil carbon stocks but few studies exist to verify that claim. Lewthwaite is conducting a pilot trial at Unitec’s Pacific Centre for Sustainable Communities to quantify the role of mulch in generating soil carbon. Seven patches of soil are being tested under different conditions, ranging from no intervention at all to bare soil hand weeded or sprayed with herbicide, to paper, black plastic, weed mat and woody mulch. It will take at least a year, he says, before tests show any significant changes and he hopes this pilot will develop into a larger study. CONTACT Reg Lewthwaite Lecturer Dept of Natural Sciences Faculty of Social & Health Sciences Email:

New racing boat hits the water A super lightweight racing boat has been designed and constructed by Rob Shaw, Head of Marine Technology at Unitec, and a team of his students.

Shaw is a master boatbuilder and this design, over which he holds copyright, defines a new market. Easy and fast to sail, it is also economical to build.

The 9m open skiff, pictured while being turned over and laminated, sports sophisticated carbon fibre material, imported then embedded with resin and cured using Unitec facilities. Its canting keel is designed for improved performance. A boat, when it keels, is normally in a perpendicular line with the mast but this one, says Shaw, can be canted down so it stays vertical rather than having to release more wind off the sails to return to an upright position.

Capable of offshore as well as coastal races, the boat’s design was sold to a New Zealand-based syndicate before even being tested and Shaw is now getting international enquiries from other prospective buyers. CONTACT Rob Shaw Head of Marine Technology Faculty of Technology & Built Environment Email:

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Compressed air hybrid vehicle

Increasing support for Pacific entrepreneurs

Most commercial hybrid vehicles still use petrol or diesel as a back up source of power. The two biggest challenges in commercialising vehicles that run solely on electric power are in recharging batteries and achieving the rapid output of energy required to accelerate.

New Zealand’s Pacific population of 266,000 has lower standards of living and a higher rate of unemployment than the average national rate. Selfemployment could improve this situation, yet the numbers of selfemployed are also relatively low. For her degree of Master of Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Joanne McDonald investigated the factors that influence the development and survival of new Pasifika businesses. Family and community networks are complex, having both positive and negative impacts, she says. Business mentors and visible support agencies are important and could play a bigger role in addressing the lack of business knowledge and skills, and bolstering confidence. Start-up capital is often a

barrier (although not a prerequisite), as is the ongoing financial dependency of the older generation on younger relatives. More courses on financial literacy towards retirement are needed to encourage self-reliance and free the younger generation to direct financial resources into their businesses. McDonald’s research, while undertaken with a relatively small sample of mostly first generation Pacific New Zealanders, aimed to provide relevant support agencies such as PacificBiz and the Pacific Business Trust with a foundation of information based on interviews and a focus group. The thesis was supervised by Dr Peter Mellalieu. He can be contacted at

Partnership designed to get bums onto more sustainable seats Tom Qi, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Technology & Built Environment has begun testing a prototype hybrid engine using compressed air as a clean source of additional power and battery life. Last year, he obtained an electric-powered golf cart. Qi installed an air compressor and motor alongside the existing motor and battery, then designed a gear box, clutch and clutch controller to allow energy to be switched back and forth between the two sources. The theory, he says, is that the compressed air is self-regenerating through the friction created by braking, or deceleration. Neither the battery nor the compressed air needs recharging at special stations or through plug-ins, thereby also enhancing the life of the battery and the car’s efficiency.

What happens to your office chair once its useful life is over? Most end up in landfills because they’re constructed of materials that can’t be composted or easily recycled, such as energy intensive carbon or glass fibre. Unitec Senior Lecturer in Product Design, Roger Bateman, is partnering with Crown Research Institute Scion

to take research into bioplastics to a new level. They are focusing on the use of bioplastics combined with natural fibres, rather than synthetic ones, to create new composites and Bateman is applying that research to the design of office furniture. To date, small furniture items that don’t carry excessive or heavy loads have been produced by Scion using bioplastics. Now, with $60,000 from Unitec and Scion funds, Bateman anticipates new robust formulations being developed and tested for their suitability as office chairs. Having worked as an industrial furniture designer in the UK for over 15 years, Bateman is aware of the need to consider market forces. He’ll also be researching what sustainable products are already on the market, who buys them and what “green credentials” new products will need to have in order to be adopted by large-scale businesses.

Road tests around Unitec’s Mt Albert campus have proved encouraging. Qi is continuing to use the data he’s collected from his golf cart to design a working model for a commercial car.

The second stage will entail finding a commercial furniture manufacturer keen to produce the chairs on a large scale.

CONTACT Tom Qi Senior Lecturer Faculty of Technology & Built Environment Email:

CONTACT Roger Bateman Senior Lecturer Dept of Design Faculty of Creative Industries & Business Email:

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FEATURE design

Trading in the cultural economy of clay From utilitarian toilet bowls and tableware to ornamental objects and the precision science of superconductors, the value of what is fashioned out of clay is inseparable from its end use. Unitec Programme Director Richard Fahey has taken an inclusive view of the social life of clay commodities. Ceramics have an intimate and varied place in human society. Craft writing in New Zealand has traditionally occupied itself with production, judging technical merit and the materials employed, rather than offering insights into the complex social and political mechanisms that regulate taste, trade and desire; the milieu in which these objects are transacted. Richard Fahey set out to achieve the latter with a publication and exhibition titled Clay Economies: Travels to Muddied Provinces.

BROAD CERAMIC HORIZONS Held at Objectspace, the 2008 Clay Economies exhibition was curated by Fahey. Objects he selected range from the individually hand-built to the industrially produced, and included prosthetic hip joints, ceramic knife blades and Richard Stratton’s Feast Teapots, objects that would customarily never be seen in relation to one another. Objectspace Director Philip Clarke says visitors raved about this approach of presenting groups of work as opposed to the more usual iconic single art work. “It was more shop-like than gallerylike, which in turn quietly raised issues of consumption and the economies around ceramics.” Consumption, says Fahey, extends well beyond studio pottery.

“Much of it is anonymous, low status and barely acknowledged. How many of us would associate our pristine, vitreous hand basins with cooked mud?” Items can and do cross the perceived divide between the utilitarian and the ornamental. “Early Crown Lynn was relegated beneath the wash tub as containers for soaps and scrubs for many years,” says Fahey. “Now, the same objects are chic adornment for minimalist apartments. Fashioning of the everyday cup has gone from the potter’s wheel to become a precision science and a technology.”

THE RISE OF STUDIO POTTERY Unlike Europe and the Orient, New Zealand did not have an indigenous clay tradition. The formative origins of the studio pottery movement that gained momentum by the 1970s were industrial. In the mid-1940s, Len Castle’s pots were fired alongside sewer pipes and gully traps. His knowledge of firing techniques was gained from specialist industrial workers at Crum Brick, Tile and Pipe Works in New Lynn. The artfully misshapen brown pot emerged from a lifestyle that valued self-sufficiency and simplicity. This homespun egalitarianism, says Fahey, produced both backyard amateurism and world-leading performance, coopting the Anglo Oriental tradition.

“Our small gene pool can lead to a club mentality,” says Fahey, “but the flip side is that when different arguments rub shoulders in tight proximity remarkable performance can arise.”

A CRITICAL LOOK AT CLAY These ideas are articulated in the Clay Economies publication. Rather than being an accompanying exhibition catalogue, its conception was to provide a multi-authored analysis of this historically significant form of local cultural production. Fahey invited sociologist Dr David Craig, and curators Moyra Elliott and Dr Christopher Thompson to write chapters alongside his own on “Travels to Muddied Provinces”. These four chapters chart both the contextual history of the handmade and policies that may influence the future of ceramics. The Clay Economies exhibition and publication (download free from www. were funded by a Unitec research grant and by Creative New Zealand. An extensive interview with Fahey will appear in the June 2009 issue of the international journal Ceramics, Art & Perception. CONTACT Richard Fahey Programme Director Dept of Design Faculty of Creative Industries & Business Email:

Two exhibits of Clay Economies: Peter Lange’s Ampersand, and Chickens by an anonymous maker imported from Vietnam.

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Home science and gifted careers From its beginnings in 1911 with five students in a tin shed, the School of Home Science at the University of Otago went on to produce graduates whose lives transcended the domestic sphere. Unitec’s Dr Jenny Collins has been investigating a number of those who were determined to contribute more to society than pristine laundry. 

The School of Home Science at the University of Otago embraced an unlikely mix of laundry and chemistry classes. Photos: Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago.

In the 19th century when the study of science moved from home-based to all-male educational institutions, women found themselves increasingly excluded or relegated to inferior roles. Often dismissed as just a training ground for glorified housekeepers, the University of Otago’s pioneering programme in domestic science gave women both a springboard to employment opportunities and a way to reshape the field of science to improve social and economic conditions in the wider society. Dr Jenny Collins, Senior Lecturer in Unitec’s Department of Education, has studied the career trajectories of women who graduated from the programme between 1911 and 1961.

FULFILLING LIVES “There were many struggles in the early years over a curriculum that had to embrace both practical laundry duties and chemistry classes,” says Collins. “It was on ongoing dilemma whether to emphasise the academic side, valued by the university, or the practice-based training expected by the public and the Education Department.” Significant numbers of women managed to forge exceptional careers both within university walls and out in the community, as academics, teachers, dietitians and health educators at a time when women were expected to marry rather than have a career.

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“For example, a number of women I interviewed found their way onto the Meat and Milk Board, when it was rare for women to serve as directors,” says Collins.

Later she became a district nurse in Kaikohe, working with sick and pregnant women living in isolated rural communities and was awarded a Queens Service Order in 1979.



Neige Todhunter was the first woman to graduate with a Master of Home Science in New Zealand in 1934. Fascinated by developments in nutrition, she completed a PhD at Columbia University and went on to become Dean of the School of Home Economics at the University of Alabama, building up a vast knowledge on the subject of nutrition. She is included in the list of 13 of the most notable New Zealand women scientists.

The Carnegie Fund was prominent in funding travel awards through universities. These awards became the route for many grantees to learn about innovative developments overseas and bring them back to New Zealand, at a time when this country was rather isolated educationally.

Emere Kaa, who was a trained nurse, fought against her own ill health and family expectations to attend a home science programme at Otago that aimed at teaching Maori women health, hygiene, and arts and crafts. “Very little has been written about Emere,” says Collins, “but I came across a report in the Carnegie Library in the US of the work she did while in receipt of a Carnegie grant. In 1936, Emere was sponsored by the Education Department to visit schools and maraes. The programme was seen as a great success because she approached people on their own ground and in their own language.”

“Whilst interviewing and working my way through archives, I realised how important Carnegie was to education in this country,” says Collins. “They funded the development of universities, libraries and museums, and a university extension programme which formed the basis of rural libraries and what is now the National Library. The Carnegie link has been an interesting addition to what’s turning into a long-term interest in the study of women’s professional and academic lives.” “Glorified Housekeepers or Pioneering Professionals?” was published in the History of Education Review, vol.37, no.2, 2008.   CONTACT Dr Jenny Collins Senior Lecturer Dept of Education Faculty of Social & Health Sciences Email:


Studying iwi-based early education Early childhood education is one of four areas that most impact on the goal of Ma¯ori enjoying education success as Ma¯ori. A new iwi-focused centre in Rotorua is the subject of a 10-year study following young learners, their wha¯nau and their aspirations. Unitec Associate Professor Jenny Ritchie is co-director of the study. In May 2008, Nga¯ti Whakaue opened an early childhood education centre called Moko-Puna Te Ao Kapurangi. The Rotorua puna nurtures the iwi’s young children within a distinctively Nga¯ti Whakaue setting. The Ministry of Education tendered a contract worth over half a million dollars for a long-term evaluation of this playgroup with a difference. It was won in March by Unitec Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education Jenny Ritchie and co-researcher Sandy Morrison, a Senior Lecturer at Waikato University who is of Nga¯ti Whakaue descent.

DISTINCTIVE SETTING Two staff develop and run the learning programme at the puna. About half a dozen kuia and koroua contribute skills and time with waiata, stories, child rearing and transport. Wha¯nau members are required to stay with their mokopuna.

The centre is free to attend and open to everyone, with about 60 percent of those enrolled being Nga¯ti Whakaue. “That’s ka pai for us,” says Rolleston.

clear philosophical foundation for the study. What then follows are in-centre observations, interviews and wha¯nau discussions.


“This study is exciting, says Ritchie. “It’s a first for me in focusing on just one early childhood centre for an extended period. Sandy and I will be walking alongside Nga¯ti Whakaue wha¯nau to realise their aspirations for their tamariki’s futures.”

The ten-year study will track the progress of children through to starting at secondary level. “We have a chance to really see how early education within a distinctive Nga¯ti Whakaue identity enhances these children’s future learning, their self-confidence and their potential to contribute to society, what the enablers and any barriers are,” says Ritchie. It will also explore, over a five-year period, the ways in which their experience in the puna contributes to wha¯nau being empowered as informed consumers, demanding constituents and determining contributors. The first task for the researchers is to identify the core knowledge and

The puna is one strand in a kete of educational strategies being developed by iwi leaders. If the research results support what the happy faces and ever-increasing numbers at the puna suggest, Rolleston says the evidence will provide an impetus for the iwi to channel more funding into similar projects and to share the fruits of their experience. “We’ll have an opportunity to show people how it can be done. Let’s all share in it.”

EARLIER PROJECTS Ritchie has an established reputation for research partnerships that promote bicultural approaches to early childhood education. Since 2004, she has directed three two-year projects (see www. Whakawhanaungatanga identified strategies used by educators to increase the involvement of wha¯nau Ma¯ori in their children’s education; Te Puawaitanga explored the perspectives of children, parents and caregivers’ experiences of bicultural education; Titiro Whakamuri, Hoki Whakamua, which will be completed in December, cast a wider net in focusing on an ethic of care for self, others and the environment in different early childhood contexts nationally.

Dr Jenny Ritchie at Moko-Puna Te Ao Kapurangi.

“It’s not a drop-off centre,” says kaumatua Mitai Rolleston. “The parents come along too and learn our tikanga and kawa along with their kids. Their presence strengthens the connections within the whole hapu.”

values of Nga¯ti Whakauetanga and the most effective ways they can be transmitted, using both Kaupapa Ma¯ori and indigenous research theory. This academic contribution will be discussed and refined with all involved to lay a

CONTACT Dr Jenny Ritchie Associate Professor Early Childhood Teacher Education Dept of Education Faculty of Social & Health Sciences Email:

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Schaafhausen: A German architect in colonial Samoa Albert Schaafhausen was one of very few prolific architects in the western islands of Samoa in the first half of the 20th century. His legacy remains in municipal, church and commercial buildings but the man himself left few traces of his colonial career. Unitec’s Dr Christoph Schnoor has been piecing together clues. and beautiful town and it did become a Europeanised enclave. It was something of a paradox.” Some of the early colonial buildings were consistent with Solf’s attitude towards self-government, including the Office of Native Affairs, and the Government School for Samoans. Modernity was reflected in technology and the choice of building materials. Concrete masonry and solid foundations tended to replace the prevalent use of timber and corrugated iron, a move designed also to protect the buildings from the difficult climatic conditions in Samoa. Solf also attempted to source local materials, since in the beginning every item of building material was imported, despite sand, lime, coral, basalt and timber being locally available.

MAPPING THE ELEMENTS In 1900, Germany annexed the Samoan islands of Savai’i and Upolu. This territory added to a growing list of Schutzgebiete the European power claimed throughout Africa, China and the Pacific from the 1880s onwards. Yet, very little research exists in Germany about its colonial architecture.

“Solf’s political aim was to respect and keep Samoan traditions,” says Schnoor, “including Samoan being the language of instruction in schools. He did, however, embark on a number of infrastructure projects that mark the beginning of modernity in Samoa. He wanted to redevelop Apia in accordance with more European ideas of a proper

Clarifying the precise role Schaafhausen played in modernising Samoa has taken Schnoor (on occasion accompanied by Wilhem Schaafhausen, pictured on page 9 at Unitec’s Samoan fale tele) to archival sources in Wellington, Auckland, Germany and Samoa over the past three years, and to Schaafhausen’s descendants.

When Dr Schnoor arrived in New Zealand in 2004 with a PhD on Le Corbusier, the newly appointed Programme Director for the Master of Architecture recognised the gap. “One of my students was the greatgrandson of Albert Schaafhausen but Wilhem knew nothing specific about his work,” says Schnoor. “No personal papers or records remain of the architect’s 60 years in Samoa.”

TRADITION AND MODERNITY Albert Schaafhausen arrived in Western Samoa in 1901, via Africa and Australia, and became the de facto architect of the German colonial administration under its Governor Wilhelm Solf. He was first employed as a building overseer in 1901.

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The original 1905-6 European School in Ifi-Ifi was extended by Schaafhausen in the1930s (see the plan above) and the enlarged building was converted into the Falemata’aga, the Museum of Apia, in 2006.


CULTURAL CROSSROADS Schnoor will be presenting a paper on Schaafhausen at Cultural Crossroads, the 26th Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) in July, in Auckland. He has applied to the Marsden Fund to extend his research to the German colonial government and the cultural implications of its role in modernising Samoa. “Colonial architecture played a role in the lead-up to modernism, as well as becoming an expression of modernity, but that role has been ill-defined. Equally ill-defined is the influence of island culture on European architecture.

This relatively simple Anglican church in Leififi was one of Schaafhausen’s last designs.

“In the beginning I thought I’d find a particular German architecture, says Schnoor. “The closest I came was a default colonial architecture. Now I can see small elements of German influence, including the use of concrete as a means of solidifying buildings.” Archival material suggests that some designs came from a German government architect in Berlin. Despite this, Schaafhausen, during his first 14 years in Samoa designed and supervised the realisation of some 40 buildings and infrastructural projects. “From the body of drawings it has been possible to identify Schaafhausen’s particular style as very clear, neat and professional. He employed some consistent design elements such as the aris or chamfer and the halfornamental, half-structural device similar to a newel drop, combined with knee braces.” While not formally trained as an architect, Schaafhausen was ambitious and capable. He earned Solf’s respect and despite two attempts to transfer to the larger German colony of New Guinea, Solf managed to have him promoted and retained in Apia. In 1913, Schaafhausen was made Chinesenkommissar – inspector in charge of the Chinese contract workers. It seemed a rather dubious promotion because of its political implications. “We don’t know how far his authority extended in terms of strategic planning,

nor for that matter how strategic Solf’s vision was,” says Schnoor. “Schaafhausen’s contribution to architecture in Samoa is rich and comprehensive though. His architecture is characterised by a sober practical beauty, derived from the appreciation of craftsmanship. His projects and buildings, although unobtrusive, have added substantially to the fabric of Samoa.”

INTERVENTION OF WAR The architect married a Samoan woman with an American father, Hannah Wallwork, in 1904. He revisited Germany early in 1914. The outbreak of the First World War prevented his return but the marriage gained him a rare re-entry in the early 1920s and he did not depart again except when forcibly interned on Somes Island from 194244. New Zealand had taken over the administration of Samoa following the First World War. The architect remained independent for some years but was then employed by the New Zealandcontrolled Public Works Department from 1931 until he retired in 1946.

“There’s a lot of literature on the political development of the country but in architecture only a masters thesis from the late 1980s that surveys Samoan buildings from the 1850s onwards. I want to add to that body of knowledge and detail the process of modernisation in which Schaafhausen was a key player.” In 2008, Schnoor’s full edition and analysis of Le Corbusier’s early manuscript “La Construction des villes” was published by gta-Verlag in Zurich, titled Le Corbusier’s Erstes Städtebauliches Traktat von 1910/11. CONTACT Dr Christoph Schnoor Programme Director Master of Architecture (Professional) Faculty of Creative Industries & Business Email:

Schaafhausen designed an increasingly eclectic mix of buildings for civil administration and law enforcement, for education, health, church and commercial buildings, such as O. F. Nelson’s saw-tooth storage shed which has been turned into a mall in the midst of Apia in the 1990s. The Anglican Church in Leififi may have been his last work. He died in 1960, just before Samoa gained independence.

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Kumeu attracts more than vintners’ luck Wine and tourism have become central to the identity and economic health of several New Zealand regions. Unitec Master of Business student Andres Sanchez Castillo analysed the Kumeu wine trail within the framework of a development model that pinpoints for stakeholders a route to sustainable growth. In 1819, Rev Samuel Marsden planted New Zealand’s first grapevines at Kerikeri Mission. A century later, a trickle of immigrant winemakers began to arrive in West Auckland and made Henderson the largest wine producing area in the country. By 2000, intense urbanisation had forced many of these pioneer winery operators to move further out. Kumeu now has a dozen high-quality wineries on a looped trail, which has the prerequisites for success. “The Kumeu region is blessed with good climatic conditions, natural attractions, restaurants and reputable awardwinning wineries,” says Colombian-born Sanchez Castillo. “It’s close to a large city that annually hosts over 14 million visitors. That’s a great baseline to build on.” Good marketing and collaborative management by local stakeholders are further attributes of famous wine trails such as Napa Valley in California and the 380km trail linking Hawkes Bay through to Marlborough.



These geographical and business factors combine to create a six-stage wine tourism development model through which regions generally progress. Kumeu, says Sanchez Castillo, is well into the third stage, having already grown through exploration, then increased production and recognition into a centre for employment and entrepreneurial ventures.

Sanchez Castillo interviewed 13 stakeholders on the Kumeu wine trail. Although local cellar door sales make up only a small percentage of overall wine sales (from one to 20 percent), up to 80,000 visitors pass through each year. Wineries reported higher profits and increases in positive perception of their brand as a result of this face-toface contact.

“Stage four is critical. What happens during the period of consolidation determines whether a region goes into stagnation and decline or moves instead into an alternative scenario of cooperation and conservation.”

Barriers to growth are a lack of public transport and prohibitive taxi fares, along with challenges in working with the New Zealand Transport Agency on roading infrastructure and requests for improved signage. These barriers are to some extent mitigated by specialised wine tour operators.

During consolidation, tourism development expands, wineries plant new vines and smaller wineries get taken over by larger ones. Profits increase but so do land values and complaints about traffic, noise and pollution. Potential conflicts need to be managed by good communication between local government, tourism stakeholders and the community. In time, an equilibrium is reached that conserves viticulture as a valued regional identity.

INVESTING FOR SUCCESS The Kumeu Wine Country Association was set up as a networking and copromotion initiative of wineries. It has proven its worth in differentiating the region from other wine destinations in the vicinity of Auckland, such as Matakana and Waiheke Island, and in gaining national status for Kumeu. The next step, says Sanchez Castillo, is to develop a joint tourism and communication strategy and possibly a Kumeu wine country museum. “What hinders that next step being taken is primarily a lack of investment capital,” says Sanchez Castillo. “No single stakeholder is in a position to provide such an investment. There’s a precedent for the Government to step in and pay for signage – as they did for the Hawkes Bay to Marlborough trail. Even a modest infusion of resources, and proper management by local government, would see Kumeu succeed where its neighbour Henderson didn’t.” “Wine Trails in New Zealand: A case study investigating the key operating characteristics of wine trails in Kumeu” can be read at the Unitec Library. Sanchez Castillo’s Master of Business thesis was supervised principally by Dr Ken Simpson,

Andres Sanchez Castillo at harvest time in Kumeu.

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in the limelight

Feeding social practice research Most academics can only dream about devoting half their week to research. Dr Helen Gremillion seized the opportunity to do just that when she was appointed Unitec’s first Associate Professor of Social Practice.

arguing for better recognition for practice-based research and for the inclusion of industry members in any review panels. “There’s great scholarship going on in this department that hasn’t had enough visibility,” she says. “My task is also to offer peer support and mentoring, to facilitate the writing up of ideas and the discussion about where we want those ideas circulated. For example, could they be used to go out and shift social policy in Waitakere City Council?”

PERSONAL RESEARCH AREAS Dr Helen Gremillion’s task as Unitec’s first Associate Professor of Social Practice is to grow a research culture.

On what basis is value assigned to academic research? That question has been particularly contentious since the adoption of Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF). Unitec has a commitment to growing a research culture within its three areas of social practice and to gain better recognition for practice-based research. That’s where Helen Gremillion comes in. A Stanford University graduate with a PhD in cultural anthropology, Gremillion first taught anthropology then moved to Indiana University as a professor in the Gender Studies Department and as director of undergraduate and then graduate studies there. Her research and publications on eating disorders and on narrative therapy are renowned, with Feeding Anorexia: Gender and Power at a Treatment Center being nominated for a Margaret Mead Award.

A CHANGING IDENTITY Having a Kiwi partner and professional connections here motivated her to apply for the new position at Unitec. “I’ve thought about moving to New Zealand for a long time so when the opportunity of a 50 percent researchbased job came up, I jumped at it,” says Gremillion. “What’s really attractive to

me about social practice at Unitec is that the ideas being taught here are very similar to those I’ve been swimming around in for a long time, although the specific context of biculturalism is new to me.” Narrative therapy was co-founded by Unitec Adjunct Professor David Epston. Its central tenet of contextualising people’s problems within the sociology and politics of their everyday lives rests on post-structuralist theories of identity. These theories underpin the training of practitioners in counselling, community development and social work at Unitec. “People’s identities are not stable or fixed,” says Gremillion. “Identity is created in relationship and community with others and is constantly changing. We teach students to look at the contextual, cultural creation of meaning and identity in community.”

REDEFINING RESEARCH Similarly, she says, what constitutes “research” should not be fixed. Gremillion is a member of the Unitecwide Research Committee and chair of the Research Committee in Social Practice. She has put together a response to the Tertiary Education Commission’s position paper on PBRF,

She intends to challenge other assumptions in the development of her own research projects. “I’m interested in how feminism and gender studies both connect and don’t connect with men’s studies and men’s movements. In New Zealand, the commonly held notion of what feminism is could use some revision. Debates about gender stereotypes have also become ossified. In a smaller context here, unlike the US, I can sit down with the main players and talk to the people I’m working with and citing. I believe there are exciting possibilities for new kinds of dialogue, debates, and social practice amongst feminists and participants in men’s movements.” A second focus will be the interdisciplinary approach taken in social practice at Unitec to the three uniquely integrated areas of counselling, community development and social work. “I’m interested in the history of that approach and whether there’s something particular to this part of the world that creates those ideas.” CONTACT Dr Helen Gremillion Associate Professor Dept of Social Practice Faculty of Social & Health Sciences Email:

Advance Winter 09 11

news in brief

Marae makes Unitec history

“We were blown away by what he had said,” says Paniora. “It was something we’d always wanted to do but when he threw down the challenge, it caught everyone by surprise.” He says the idea came after Dr Webster attended the opening of Manukau Institute of Technology’s marae in 1999 accompanied by the late Sir John Turei, Unitec’s Pae Arahi at the time, Haare Williams, and Mr Paniora.

Unitec’s first marae – Te Noho Kotahitanga - was officially opened on 13 March in front of more than 1,000 people.

challenge to build the marae was laid down by a Scotsman.

Unitec’s marae was designed by well known Maori artist and master carver, Lyonel Grant. Many of its features depict the history of Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland), carved in each poupou, that stem from its early settlement right up to today.

Pae Arahi Hare Paniora still remembers the day a decade ago when the

It was during Unitec’s Maori Runanga committee meeting in 1999 when the then Chief Executive Officer, Dr John Webster, raised the idea.

Russian artists set up shop

Architecture professor wins major award

Two Russian situationist artists, Gluklya and Tsaplya, spent six weeks as artists in residence at Unitec’s Department of Design and Visual Arts.

Professor Branko Mitrovic is travelling to Germany in early June to receive a prestigious Humboldt Research Award. Unitec’s Professor of Architectural History and Theory is only the third New Zealand academic to win the award since its inception in 1972. Worth around $150,000, the award funds an open invitation to the world’s best scholars at the peak of their careers to spend up to 12 months cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist

From St Petersburg, the artists work under a collective known as the Factory of Found Clothing (FNO). Dedicated to social transformation through art, their ideological practice involves collaboration performance and installation projects with public groups.

The duo also transformed the Snowhite Gallery into a studio, producing work that was open to public view.

colleagues at a research institution in Germany. Professor Mitrovic was nominated by colleagues at the Technical University of Berlin and the working title of his project is “Renaissance scholarship of the Weimar era”. One his many previous fellowships was from the Harvard University Centre for Renaissance Studies and he is a recognised Palladio scholar. The Humboldt network of past scholars numbers over 23,000 from 130 countries.

North Shore rolls out its first graduates It was also the first time Unitec’s graduation format has included students from certificate and diploma programmes. Head of the Department of Community Development Te Pae Whanake, Pam Malcolm, says the inclusion of students from her campus helped make their experience at Unitec even more momentous.

Gluklya and Tsaplya’s residency in February and March included working on a project called New Zealand’s Greatest Idiot which is based on Russian author Dostoyevsky’s enigmatic character, Prince Myshkin. In this case, the “idiot” isn’t what we’re accustomed to, but more someone who is compasionate and focused on helping outhers.

Mr Paniora says visitors will be enriched by the history carved into the marae.

Around 40 students created Unitec history by being the first intake to graduate from the North Shore campus. The campus opened at the beginning of last year and the new graduates joined the 1,000 plus who crossed the stage during last month’s graduation ceremonies.

“Graduation is a very special time for any student and for many of these students, they may be the first in their family to be part of a large, formal graduation ceremony. “It’s an opportunity to not only honour the student, but also for families to be involved and share in the student’s achievement.”

For more information about any of these news items, please contact Unitec’s Media Manager on +64 9 815 4321 ext 7601 or email

12 Advance Winter 09


Advance - Winter 2009  

Advance - Research with Impact. Innovative research from students and staff at Unitec Institute of Technology, in Auckland, New Zealand.

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