Our History

We are proud of our long history of providing vocational education in the wider Wellington region.

WelTec was first born as Petone Technical School in 1904, Whitireia was launched in 1985, and the two joined in 2012 to become known as Whitireia and WelTec. Then in September 2022, we became Whitireia and WelTec business division of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (Te Pūkenga).

Te Pūkenga

As of September 1st 2022, Whitireia and WelTec became subsidiaries of Te Pūkenga. - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology

We were one of the first of 16 Polytechnics and 9 Institute of Technologies in New Zealand to transition to Te Pūkenga. Set up by the Government's Reform of Vocational Learning, Te Pūkenga's aim is to create a network of online, on-campus and on-the-job learning to give ākonga more flexibility in what, where and how they learn. 

The transition was celebrated at both our Petone and Porirua campuses, by welcoming on Te Pūkenga acting Chief Executive Peter Winder and his team. 

To us and all subsidiaries they presented a toki, a tool used in the pre-European Maōri world to fashion waka, build houses, and fell trees. People who were proficient in these practices were often called "toki". As Te Pūkenga means to be proficient or skilled in particular roles, it was a fitting symbol of the transition.

The transition to Te Pūkenga was a significant event in our history; we are proud to be joining our fellow vocational education providers in sharing knowledge and resources to provide ākonga with the tools they need to succeed in our changing world.


"Whitireia is a name our people brought from Hawaiiki with them. They believe it came from the ngā atua, from the gods. That name is very deep in the Māori world. There are two names in Māoridom that we say are from the gods, and Whitireia is one of them." – Ihakara Arthur, Ngāti Toa kaumātua

At Whitireia we have always been proud of our history. From the beginning, it could be said that Whitireia had a sense of belonging to something older and more ancient than itself, taking on a name that, as Ngāti Toa kaumātua Ihakara Arthur described it, was from the ngā atua, the gods. The very role was given to Whitireia, or Parumoana as it was then briefly known, to provide Porirua and the surrounding region with hitherto unavailable options in tertiary education, gave a sense of purpose. It was a mandate that facilitated a belief that what began with a historic groundbreaking one cold dawn in 1985 would continue to grow from strength to strength.

It was arguably this sense of history in the making that compelled founding principal Turoa Royal to formally request on 19 March 1986 that librarian Chanel White document all material of historical significance to the polytechnic, and that she makes a record of any media references to Whitireia, in order to "assist future historians to write about the history of our college." These media clippings were painstakingly photocopied and archived in an ever-growing collection of ring binders, and it is the efforts of Chanel and subsequent archivists that have contributed significantly to this section of the Whitireia website. While ring binders full of newspaper clippings may have given way to digital records, it is to Turoa Royal's credit that his foresight facilitated an ever-evolving archive that provides a much-needed source of veracity when memory fails.

As Turoa Royal had foreseen, this archive proved invaluable not just for our online annals but for previous documentation of the history of Whitireia. In 1996, to mark ten years as an institution, Adrienne Jansen and Tracey Scadden compiled and edited the book Whitireia Conversations: Our First Ten Years, while fifteen years later, 25 Years: Leading and Illuminating was able to be still more comprehensive, backed up by invaluable data from the archives. Fitting, then, that on 19 June 2012, 26 years after writing his memo to Chanel White, Turoa Royal was able to sit with his two successors at Takapūwāhia Marae and sign copies of a book borne from his foresight.




WelTec is one of New Zealand's oldest tertiary education institutions and the second-oldest in Wellington. WelTec has changed over the years, but we've always focused on teaching real skills.

We began life as the Petone Technical School in 1904, teaching evening classes in rented accommodation. Four years later we moved to our current site in Petone teaching high school students technical skills during the day and continuing part-time courses at night.

Over the years there were various shifts in name, sites and structure. We've been known as Petone Technical College, Hutt Valley Memorial Technical College, Petone Technical Institute and Hutt Valley Polytechnic.

We became the Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) in 2001 when the Central Institute of Technology (CIT) – based in Heretaunga, but once part of the original institute in Petone – was incorporated into Hutt Valley Polytechnic and our name changed.

WelTec began delivery in Auckland expanding CIT’s social services programmes to firmly establish WelTec as the leading provider of training in this field in New Zealand.

We've remained true to our trades roots, but we now also train tomorrow's engineers, IT people, creatives, businesspeople and those in the social services.

For over a century we have provided high-quality education. Our focus today remains on providing you with quality education, connecting you to industry and community, and kick-starting your future career.

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