Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union is yet again dismayed to learn of the further erosion of vocational tertiary education provision in one of Aotearoa’s most deprived regions.

NorthTec has pressed ahead with a proposal to end its applied arts degree and cut visual arts jobs by 2.4 FTE despite deep opposition from both TEU and the Northland community.

TEU Organiser Jill Jones says ‘it’s incredibly disheartening to see Te Pūkenga subsidiaries continue to slash and burn regional provision, in this case denying Northland rangatahi the right to study.’

‘This decision further narrows educational opportunity for students in Northland, strangles Northland’s cultural life and further tarnishes NorthTec’s reputation in the community, which has already been negatively affected by last minute closure of courses, leading to disappointed students being cut adrift from the careers of their choice.’

‘The proposal fails to take into account Te Pūkenga’s Charter, which requires the needs of the regions to be met with offerings of a mix of accessible education and training. That is vital for the economic and social health of Northland and students should not be deprived of the same or similar educational opportunities available to students in larger metropolitan areas.’

Meanwhile, angry Northlanders have taken to Whangarei Noticeboard, a local Facebook group, to express their frustration with the cuts, describing them as “an absolute disgrace” and “death to the creative industry in Northland”. Others have lamented the need for their sons, daughters and other relatives who love the Arts to either leave the region or choose another future.

A fortnight ago, TEU released a video that heavily featured NorthTec staff talking about the impact continual cuts were having on the communities they serve.