Our case studies

Ō mātou take rangahau

Last updated 1 November 2016
Last updated 11/01/2016

This page highlights some of the work tertiary education organisations (TEOs) are doing to deliver on the priorities of the Tertiary Education Strategy (TES).

Research thriving at the Dodd-Walls Centre

Case Study – Priority 5: Strengthening research-based institutions

The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies was established as one of the new Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) in 2015.

The Centre, based in Dunedin, builds on New Zealand’s strength in the fields of quantum optics, photonics and precision atomic physics.

It focuses on cutting-edge research to underpin advanced technological development that will enhance New Zealand’s international scientific reputation.

The Centre will also deliver economic benefits by developing and expanding New Zealand’s high-tech industry sector.

Two of the Centre’s researchers won awards in 2015:

  • Stéphane Coen from the University of Auckland received the 2015 New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal for his work on non-linear phenomena in optical fibres
  • Professor Richard Blaikie received the Royal Society of New Zealand Thomson Medal for his leadership of nanotechnology.

A further honour went to Dr Ian Griffin, Dodd-Walls Education Team member and Director of the Otago Museum, who won the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science Media Communication.

The Centre also supported the United Nations International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies.

Permanent Dodd-Walls Centre exhibition spaces are now being developed at Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology and the Otago Museum.

Former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae (right) watched a demonstration of t

Former Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae (right) watched a demonstration of the capture of individual atoms in the lab of Dr Mikkel Andersen at the Dodds-Wall Centre.

Secondary-tertiary partnership encourages students to consider engineering as a career

Case Study – Priority 1: Delivering skills to industry –Engineering e2eprogramme

When Papanui High School was unable to staff its year 12 and year 13 electrotechnology programme in 2016, they were determined not to cancel it. So the school approached Ara Institute of Canterbury, which opened the way to an innovative alternative.

Staff from the Department of Engineering and Architectural Studies at Ara have been visiting Papanui High School to teach electronics to the students for two periods a week, and, in turn, the students visit Ara for two sessions a week, where they use Ara’s extensive electronics facilities.

The programme uses hands-on electronic activities combined with relevant theory to engage students in course material. Support from the Canterbury Development Corporation and local industry has enabled visits to local industry so students can see future career possibilities.

“With a shortage of engineers in New Zealand, and fewer students electing to do electrical engineering, this initiative seemed like an excellent opportunity to support Papanui High School in encouraging students to see the potential of a career in engineering,” says Dr Michael Edmonds, Head of Engineering and Architectural Studies Department at Ara.

In 2016, 27 Papanui students took part in this initiative, and Ara has just received funding from the Tertiary Education Commission to expand the programme at more high schools in the Canterbury region.

Papanui High School students. Photo courtesy of IPENZ.

Papanui High School students visiting Ara’s Dynamic Controls. Photo courtesy of IPENZ.


Read more about the Engineering E2E programme:

• Engineering e2e website 

• Engineering e2e web page on our website

Young mother uses her engineering skills to change her world

Case Study – Priority 1: Delivering skills to industry

The video below tells the story of Sapoa Rimoni, a young mother of Tongan and Samoan descent, whose determination and interest in carpentry led her on an unexpected learning pathway.

In the space of three years she completed Carpentry Level 4 at MIT – where she was the only woman in the class – and progressed to a NZ Diploma in Civil Engineering. 

Then, to her surprise and delight, she landed a job as a site engineer at Hawkins Infrastructure.

“My determination to succeed has helped me to gain valuable work experience onsite with Hawkins,” Ms Rimoni says.

Sapoa’s story is shared with the permission of Make The World. This campaign raises awareness of engineering careers and also targets groups that are under-represented in engineering – Maori, Pasifika and women.

Watch Sapoa's Make The World video: