As part of celebrating its three decades, Whitireia held a morning tea to honour the service of staff members who had been with institution for 25-30 years. One of the recipients was Wally Clay who, you may recall, had been at Whitireia the longest of all, helping build the initial prefabs in 1985.
Visual Arts and Design marked 30 years of Whitireia with an exhibition at Pātaka Art + Museum called Ahi Kā: Keep the Fires Burning. Coinciding with the 2016 graduate exhibition Toast, Ahi Kā brought together work by Whitireia alumni from across three decades, with artists who had studied on the original National Diploma in Craft Design to more recent graduates of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Visual Arts & Design) and the Graduate Diploma in Applied Arts.
A quote in the exhibition catalogue spoke of the symbolism of the title Ahi Kā, highlighting its connection to Ngāti Toa, and to Te Puoho Katene, who had been kaumātua for the Visual Arts department in its early years. "Ahi Kā is the name of the kōwhaiwhai rafter pattern designed by Te Puoho Katene QSM, Ngāti Toa iwi, in the Takapūwāhia marae in Elsdon, Porirua. It is symbolised by the cooking fires of the kainga held in the hand. It also means those that stay behind to guard the fire. This symbol was first used at a tribal wānanga and was supported by the words: Ahi mō te ao. The mythological story of Maui securing fire for the world was the inspiration for this symbol."