Mayor's Column for October 2016

Thursday, 06 October 2016

Uni bus pilot a huge success

WELCOME to this month’s column. As we come to towards the end of the year for tertiary students, I want to reflect on the successful University of Waikato daily bus pilot from Waitomo and Otorohanga districts.

This, along with the Tokoroa bus pilot, has been so successful, it is being rolled out across the region to Te Aroha and Huntly and will now be a permanent fixture.

As well as the bus, the university has partnered with secondary schools in the Otorohanga and Waitomo districts to make university study more accessible, putting in place key supports to help students transition from school to university.

The Pathways to Excellence (Te Ara ki Angitu) programme includes support and mentoring for students while at university, access to a portable learning device, a daily WiFi enabled transport system to and from the university and scholarships for course fees.


The inaugural group of Otorohanga and Waitomo district students are rapidly approaching the end of their first academic year and the focus now turns to helping them find summer jobs in their home towns.

Some of these students are looking for employment, their ages range from 18 to 20 and they are studying the following subjects:

Four students from Te Kuiti are enrolled in animal behaviour, chemistry, computer science and social policy.

Three Otorohanga students are enrolled in primary teaching, industrial relations and human resource management and the Pathways College.

Possible jobs do not need to be aligned to student’s programme of study. The aim is to provide these students with an opportunity to develop their employability skills and earn some money over summer to help with their education costs next year.

The benefit to local organisations is taking on temporary staff who are committed, eager to learn and possess good time management skills (honed from meeting assignment deadlines and catch the bus each day).

Local organisations that can support these students are encouraged to contact the University of Waikato’s external engagement team on (07) 838 4007 or email Dean Howie –

If you are able to help, it would be great to support this group of local students, who have made this bus programme successful.


Along with many others, I gathered for a wonderful farewell at St Luke’s Church on September 28 to one of our most colourful and influential citizens, Dawn Grainger.

Dawn was an icon in Te Kuiti and the Waitomo district influential in shaping the lives of so many people, as a school teacher, teacher of music and opera and through her love of netball. There were many stories told of her determination, drive for perfection, sharp wit, and the positive influence she had had on so many people’s lives.

Our thoughts are with the Grainger family. Dawn certainly lived a full life and she will be fondly remembered by many.