RCE Otago Officially Launched at Workshop Event

RCE Otago, "Whaiao – Education for Sustainability Otago" was officially launched at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, on 15 October, 2020. The launch was part of a day-long workshop that involved a broad range of partners joined by a common goal – to identify and address sustainability issues in the region.

Whaiao is literally translated as "daylight" or "letting the light in". Like the landscape of the Otago region, the network of organisations involved in the initiative is both large and diverse: mana whenua, educators, students, researchers, non-profit agencies, local government leaders, businesses, and community members.

Supported by local iwi and inspired by the creation narrative that was recorded by Matiaha Tiramorehu in the 1800's, the title Whaiao enshrines a vision of a strong yet agile organisation that aims to identify and lead action to advance regional and global sustainability goals.

In accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi and working in partnership with local Kai Tahu (the first people of the region), Whaiao will respect and actively foster a range of key operating principles including: cultural competency, building capability, influencing change, and innovation in formal and community education.

It aims to embed the United Nations' SDG's across all its activities by addressing the following themes relevant to the region:

  • Building sustainability and social enterprise into the curriculum
  • Water quality, use, efficiency and availability
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Low carbon lifestyles contributing to sustainable cities and towns
  • Partnerships and collaboration
  • Primary industry

The 15 October workshop was the latest in an ongoing series of sustainability education initiatives involving a wide range of regional partners, who have been working under the mandate for RCEs since the acknowledgement of RCE Otago in January 2020.

The Centre is currently hosted by Otago Polytechnic who have, as a key strategic direction, embedded the concept of sustainable practice through its curriculum and campus development over the past decade. Joining Otago Polytechnic in the bid were the Mayors of the Otago region, Kāi Tahu, University of Otago, Otago Regional Council, Otago Chamber of Commerce, Dunedin City Council, Naylor Love, Contact Energy, Queenstown Resort College, Untouched World Foundation, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Wanaka Tourism and many other businesses, tourism operators and schools.

(Photo credit: RCE Otago)

New Zealand