The finishing touches are being completed on the University
of Otago's newest residential college, before the first
students arrive on Saturday.
Last April the university paid $6.75 million for the former
LivingSpace hotel, in Castle St, in Dunedin, and after
deciding late last year it would be used as a residential
college, it has been a race to reconfigure the building
before its official opening on Saturday.
The college, which will house 127 students, is named Te Rangi
Hiroa College, after Maori leader and Otago graduate Te Rangi
Hiroa, also known as Sir Peter Buck.
College warden Ashley Day, who took up the job shortly after
retiring as warden of Carrington College, said an
''incredible amount of work'' had gone into refurbishing the
Work included giving rooms and corridors a fresh paint job,
installing a second staircase, extending the dining room and
converting the ground-floor storeroom into a study centre.
The contractors, led by Naylor Love, had done a ''fantastic
job'', he said.
The ''lovely and modern'' building was different from other
''The main point of difference is the bedrooms, because they
all have en suite bathrooms, which is a pretty nice thing to
Mr Day hoped to build traditions and an environment at the
college, based on Te Rangi Hiroa's legacy.
''He was an amazing man, a doctor, a man of huge compassion
who worked unflinchingly with his people in public health,
who also believed ... in the importance of education.''
Te Rangi Hiroa is honoured with photographs and displays,
taken from an old Otago Museum exhibition, which have been
put up in the study centre on the ground floor.
The college was fully booked. Mr Day was ''amazed'' about 90
students had put Te Rangi Hiroa College as their ''first
choice'' when applying for residential colleges, even though
it was only just announced. About 25 college students are
''It was not set out to be a Maori college ... but I suppose
many of them identify with the name.''