Change is tough, no matter how inevitable it is. Our work to secure the future of quality tertiary education on the West Coast includes getting our organisation in the right shape for a new way of working. This means change and we’re doing all we can to lessen the impact on our people, and to keep them involved every step of the way. Staff workshops over the past two years have focused on gathering thoughts and ideas, and also on ways to manage the stress that comes with uncertainty and the large amount of change happening all at once. Taking care of our people means that, in turn, they can focus on the student experience, and making sure their learning is not impacted. 

We’re also prioritising the things that put people first. In early 2018, we introduced a new social responsibility framework that sets our obligations in this area in stone. Everything we do must meet new criteria designed to ensure that we are always working in the best interests of the people of the West Coast. 

Ultimately, the changes we are making are all about people: providing them with better prospects, better jobs, better lives and a better living.

Steps to change...

Tai Poutini Polytechnic Staff walked thousands upon thousands of steps in the 2017 Wellness Challenge. It's just one of many wellness initiatives.

“Thought provoking”,


– words used to describe our staff workshop series, happening across our campuses throughout the year.

Community benefits from TPP’s free defibrillator training

Tuesday 3 September 2019

Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) is helping support the health of the community with free sessions on the safe and effective use of in‐house defibrillators during emergencies.
TPP’s Lead Tutor First Aid Janet Jamieson has been out to local businesses around a dozen times to help them learn how to use their Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs).
“A lot of businesses and organisations have these devices on hand, but many people don’t know how to use them. It came up a few times during our training programmes, so I started offering to go out and help people become more familiar with them.
“People found it useful and once we realised there was a need, TPP agreed we would continue to offer this free service to any organisation that has a defibrillator and would like to become more familiar with its use.
“It’s like anything – it’s no good having it there if you don’t know how to use it and the more you practice the better you’re likely to respond when the worst happens.”

To read more visit

Employers invited to attend annual Careers Expo

13 August 2019

West Coast businesses, employers and training providers will be on hand at the annual West Coast Careers Expo next month to talk about local job opportunities and how to get your career started.
Run by Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP), the Careers Expo gives West Coasters an opportunity to find out more about their options to create a better future for themselves – whether just starting out in a career or if they are looking for a change.
TPP is calling on local businesses and employers who wish to take part in the event to make contact today and secure a spot – it won’t cost anything and is a great networking opportunity.
TPP Leader‐ Engagement Mequa Hourston says the event is aimed at a wide range of potential students, from those working in jobs now who would like to extend themselves and take the next step in their careers, through to people looking for their first job.

To read more visit

TPP students support Operation Tidy Fox

8 August 2019

Tai Poutini Polytechnic Outdoor Education students joined other volunteers to take part if Operation Tidy
Fox last month.
Thirty‐two students travelled south at the end of July to support the clean‐up of the Fox River. The
Department of Conservation is coordinating the clean‐up of the riverbed and coast downstream of the
Fox Glacier landfill. The department has indicated that it expects Operation Tidy Fox, as the clean‐up is
known, to be completed by mid‐August.
Outdoor Education Tutor Andrew Riley says it was an opportunity for students to contribute to the clean-up
and have their eyes‐opened to a significant environmental situation on their door step.
“The students were eager to help out and contribute to the massive volunteer effort underway,” he says.
Students stayed overnight on Gillespie Beach so they would be ready bright and early to support the clean‐up efforts.

To read more visit

Greymouth High students team up with polytechnic to raise money

5 August 2019

Tai Poutini Polytechnic has teamed‐up with Greymouth High School business students to help them raise money for local charities at the Greymouth Markets.
The Year 12 students have created their own businesses – making and selling products to friends, family and the public. This year they are reaching out further, selling their wares at the TPP‐run Greymouth Markets. They had a busy first day last Sunday (4 August) and will be back again on Sunday 15 September.
Locals are encouraged to come along to the market and check‐out the new businesses, which will be selling soy wax candles, scented oil diffusers and postcards featuring local photography. All profits will go to the students’ selected charities – the SPCA, the Cancer Society and St John.
GHS Business Teacher Benjamin Ching says students usually set up stalls at the school to sell their products, but being part of the Greymouth Markets will offer a new dimension to their studies.

To read more visit

Locals learn to make the most of their communities

22 July 2019

 West Coasters explored how to run meetings and workshops that are fun and informative at the recent Facilitating Community‐led Change workshop in Greymouth.

The workshop was aimed people active in the community – charity groups, locally elected representatives, district councils and more – and offered techniques to help them bring people together and get great results from community events.
The workshop was a partnership between Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP), Grey District Council, Core, Community Trust South and Inspiring Communities. 

Inspiring Communities’ Cissy Rock says the workshop covered the basic principles of community‐led change, helping people learn facilitation skills that allow them to get things happening.

“There are always challenges to getting a project or initiative off the ground, particularly when you’re working with a diverse range of people with different skills and approaches. The workshop teaches participants how to work through these challenges, bring communities together and get results.”

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says there was strong interest in the event. “TPP is here to support the local community and help make events like this happen. It was a great event and we’ll be looking at ways we can continue to support similar initiatives in future.”

West Coast Pathways Roadshow 2019

26 June 2019
West Coast teens got a helping hand to make decisions for their future at the West Coast Pathways Roadshow in June.
With more than 1,200 secondary students from around the region, and around 30 education providers from across the country, there was plenty to talk about at the two-day event in Westport and Greymouth.
The roadshow is a partnership between Tai Poutini Polytechnic, the West Coast Trades Academy, REAPs and local high schools.
TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says there was plenty on offer for students at this year’s event.
“Creating learning pathways is a great way to show students the options and opportunities that are available to them, and exactly how they can achieve what they want. This year we also invited local businesses to take part and it was a good opportunity to talk about the jobs available on the Coast right now, and what students need to do to prepare for them,” she says.
To read more visit.

Hospitality and Chef Students Volunteer Week

21 June 2019


Tai Poutini Polytechnic Hospitality and Chef students treated local volunteers to a special lunch to say thank you from the West Coast community.


Volunteers were invited to the TPP lunch on Tuesday 19 June as part of Volunteer Week celebrations. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to refine their skills in real-world dining situation, as well a chance to say a much-deserved thank you to our volunteers for all their hours of dedication and hard work.


TPP is taking enrolments now for the next intake of hospitality and chef programmes – find out more at or call 0800 800 411.

Coasters make the most of TechWeek’19

Around 300 West Coasters took part in a series of regional events to mark TechWeek’19 in May.
TPP once again got behind the annual national event, supporting a range of tech-related events and opportunities across the West Coast. The events included social media and digital tools for business, video creation, use of specific digital tools and software, virtual reality experiences and a Lego challenge.
TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says the event was a great success, with around 300 people attending the various sessions.
“We had great line-up of events and it was fantastic to see so many people make the most of what was on offer. There were plenty of options, from business-related sessions to events for kids.
“TechWeek’19 was a great opportunity for Coasters to learn a little more about how technology can help them, share knowledge and enjoy some great local events.”
Techweek’19 ran from 20 to 26 May 2019, providing a week-long opportunity for connection and knowledge-sharing to amplify New Zealand’s unique and inspiring innovation stories. It’s not just about showcasing leading edge technology, but sharing digital knowledge within communities.

West Coasters buy heart buns for Christchurch

West Coasters have come together to support a fundraising effort for the families of those affected by the attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community.

Staff and students at Tai Poutini Polytechnic were behind a campaign to bake and sell more than 1000 “heart buns” in an effort to raise funds for Christchurch families. The buns were pre-sold to local community members and at the Greymouth Markets. More than $1000 was raised for the Christchurch Foundation's Our People, Our City Fund.

TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says the hearts of staff and students at the polytechnic are with all the people affected by the appalling attacks.

“We all just wanted to find a way to show that we care and we’re thinking about those people affected. Making a donation to one of the charities set up to support the families felt like a good thing to do. By making and selling heart buns at our kitchen here on campus, we felt we could contribute in a small way.

“The community really got behind the initiative. It shows there’s a lot of kindness in our local community and people want to support efforts to show that we care.

“Our huge thanks go to the businesses who have generously supported the initiative – Champion Flourmill and Bidfoods who have supplied the ingredients at no cost. And also to all of those people who volunteered their time and expertise to make and sell the buns.

From left to right: 

TPP Tutor - Evelyne Baumgarner

TPP Students - Damian McLaughlin, Hayden Cleghorn, James Manera, Carlo Keil

8 November 2018

Budding West Coast jade carvers are putting their work on display at this year’s Tai Poutini Polytechnic Jade Exhibition.

Opening next Friday evening (16 November), the exhibition showcases the work of TPP’s Jade and Hardstone Carving students. Due to the temporary closure of the Left Bank Art Gallery, the exhibition will be held for the first time this year at the Westland Recreation Centre.

Tutor Sheree Warren says visitors to the exhibition can expect to see a wide variety of work, mostly original pieces made from jade, hard stones, limestone, silver and wood, that the students have been working on throughout the year.

To read more visit

30 October 2018

Supported by local businesses and employers, TPP’s annual Careers Expo is a great opportunity for people to find out more about their options to create a better future for themselves – whether just starting out in a career or if looking for a change.
The 2018 Careers Expo is held annually at the Polytechnic’s Greymouth Campus in November.
As well as information on various training and study options, regional businesses attend to talk with potential students and employees about the jobs available on the West Coast and what is needed to get a foot in the door
TPP Engagement, Communications and Marketing Manager Mequa Hourston says the Careers Expo is a great opportunity for people to connect with West Coast businesses and providers and talk about the job or training options available in the region.
“It’s our role to connect students and the community with industry and business partners to help people find careers right here on the West Coast.
“We’ve been working closely with regional employers in recent times to find out what skills they are looking for in employees and help ensure we are training local people to get in to local jobs. This is one of the ways TPP is connecting with its community to help create opportunities and better futures for everyone.

To read more visit

Students teaching students, under the watchful eye of experienced professionals, is an education initiative that’s creating benefits for the entire West Coast.

Every year, Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s second‐year Outdoor Instruction and Guiding students lead local school students on a range of outdoor adventures as part of their training.

To read more visit

Giving local kids a special day out is the aim of a partnership between Tai Poutini Polytechnic and local Police charity Greymouth Bluelight.

Twenty‐four Grey District school students will be treated to breakfast, lunch and a fun day out and about in the community tomorrow (Tuesday 25 September).

Tai Poutini Polytechnic Communications, Engagement and Marketing Manager Mequa Hourston says tutors, staff and students have got on‐board with the event to prepare breakfast and lunch for the students, as well as running a four‐hour climbing wall session.

To read more visit

15 October 2018
Around 100 locals took part in the 2018 NetHui West Coast Roadtrip, an annual event that aims to get people talking about emerging internet technologies and how they affect us all.
Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) supports NetHui, offering local coordination to bring the national event to the region. In October 2018 the West Coast was part of a national roadtrip, with locals taking part and leading the conversations.
TPP Leader – Engagement Mequa Hourston says NetHui 2018 was a great opportunity for people to come together and talk about how we make the most of the opportunities the internet offers.
“The West Coast is a unique place, stretching from Karamea in the north to Haast in the south. We’re bounded by the Southern Alps and Tasman Sea – making our home a stunning place to live and visit but also providing some unique challenges to communication and traditional business operations,” she says.
Around 100 representatives from West Coast businesses, groups and the community were involved in setting the agenda for the day-long event, which included sessions on The Internet of Things, cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), resilience, new technology such as 3D printing, data security, the impact on education on the West Coast, matters of consumption and addiction to the internet, Maori in ICT, gaming, and how technology can be harnessed to help us in our everyday lives.
“I’d like to thank everyone who got involved in the NetHui West Coast Roadtrip. It was a fantastic event, with some lively debate across a range of important topics. It was also a great opportunity to talk and network with people from diverse backgrounds who all have an interest in how we can make the most of emerging internet technologies on the West Coast,” Mrs Hourston says.
“Events like NetHui, where a broad cross-section of community representatives come together to discuss issues important to the West Coast, are great for our region. TPP is keen to get behind community activities and initiatives where we can lend a hand and help create better outcomes for the region.”
NetHui is a national event that explores the future of internet technology and how Kiwis are making the most of it. NetHui is about discussions, not presentations – participants set topics and lead conversations amongst the attendees.

Tai Poutini Polytechnic construction students are building a full-sized house to be auctioned through Rotary to fundraise for the Greymouth Hospital children’s wing. 


Greymouth Rotary President Greville Wood says that the organisation is pleased to partner with the polytechnic.


“Tai Poutini Polytechnic is very important to the West Coast community now and in the future, and we are keen to support the TPP team and students,” he says. 


The house will be auctioned 30 October 2018.


To read more visit

What a fantastic place to call home...

There are so many great reasons to make the West Coast home!

Keep up to date on things to do on the West Coast, get tips and insights from our tutors in their area of expertise and know first hand what is going on at TPP with our new blog!

In our first post find out three top West Coast mountain biking experiences this autumn with Dave Ritchie, HOD Outdoor Education Director at TPP.

Careers Expo showcases options and opportunities

Friday 13 September 2019

Over a hundred career‐seekers, schools, businesses and training providers made the most of Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s (TPP’s) annual Career Expo today (Friday 13 September).
Held each year by TPP, the Careers Expo gives West Coasters an opportunity to find out more about their options to create a better future for themselves – whether just starting out in a career or if they are looking for a change.
Twenty‐five local businesses and organisations were on‐hand at the expo to talk to people about opportunities in local industry. TPP and other training providers also shared options and ideas for people thinking about options for their career or those looking to upskill in their current job.
Tayla McIntosh, Greymouth High School Student – says the expo was a great way to find out what’s available in terms of training. “It was really good to also be able to talk to employers, see what jobs are out there and what training I need to get started.”

To read more visit

​© Tai Poutini Polytechnic