Wellington Scoop

VUW sells its Karori campus to Ryman, for a retirement village

News from VUW
Victoria University of Wellington has sold its former Karori campus. The successful tenderer for the main campus is Ryman Healthcare, which plans to convert the land and buildings into a retirement village with independent and serviced apartments and a care centre.

The University became the beneficial owner of the assets and liabilities of the College of Education on the campus by merger in 2004. The campus was declared surplus to requirements in August 2016.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the tenders received for the site were assessed against community outcomes and commercial arrangements. No offers were received for the campus buildings from public sector organisations.

Ryman Group Development Manager Andrew Mitchell says Ryman is delighted to have secured the site for the retired people of Wellington. “It is an iconic site in the city’s largest suburb and we’re pleased it will continue to be a significant community asset for the city.”

Mr Mitchell said he expected considerable interest from the community in plans for the site and the Ryman team would be consulting widely with local people, community groups, Heritage New Zealand and local iwi.

Earlier this year, two early childhood centres on the Karori campus site were transferred to the Ministry of Education. More recently, the Wellington City Council concluded its purchase of a parcel of land on the former campus to provide additional car parking adjacent to the Karori swimming pool.

Some other residential properties on the campus have been offered back to the original owner or their successor or sold on the open market.

Interest from the proceeds of these sales has been used to create the Ngā Hoe a Kupe Pathfinder Scholarship programme, which supports students from disadvantaged communities in the Wellington region to study at Victoria University.

The proceeds from the sale of the rest of the campus will be used for further strengthening the University’s buildings and the future provision of modern facilities for Victoria’s Faculty of Education, which is now operating from temporary facilities on the University’s Kelburn campus.

News from WCC
Wellington City Council’s Onslow-Western Councillors, Diane Calvert, Andy Foster and Simon Woolf, have responded to Victoria University of Wellington’s announcement of the formal sale and purchase of the Karori Campus bringing public ownership of the site to a close.

“We were surprised the Ministry of Education pulled out, at such a late stage, from developing a local educational technology hub and purchasing the recreation courts as had been agreed with the Council. The Council had initially expressed an interest in the recreation courts but had agreed to let the Ministry handle purchase under the Public Works Act and under which the Council had already purchased land for additional pool parking.”

“While we had hoped and strongly advocated for part if not all of the site to be retained for public use, we still want to ensure that the community’s needs are met as best as possible.

“We are keen to establish a good relationship with the new owners (Ryman Healthcare) and work collaboratively with them on addressing community needs from both an existing and potential use perspective.

“We appreciate that it will take some time for the new owner to develop its plans and go through the necessary District Plan changes and resource and building consent processes. This will hopefully provide some opportunities for the community to keep using the existing facilities and to positively and constructively engage with this new opportunity. In any event, the Council will now pursue both short and long term facilities for recreation courts in the area.”

Ryman rates top for customer service


  1. Iona Pannett, 12. December 2017, 12:35

    Really disappointing, the land should have stayed in public hands. [via twitter]

  2. Michael Gibson, 12. December 2017, 13:23

    I notice that Iona Pannett has at last shown signs of voting against the Public-Excluded motions which she has favoured for all her previous time on the Council.
    Excellent if she is planning to mend her ways!

  3. Andy Mellon, 12. December 2017, 20:37

    “Mr Mitchell said he expected considerable interest from the community in plans for the site and the Ryman team would be consulting widely with local people, community groups, Heritage New Zealand and local iwi.”

    Consulting, and then riding roughshod over the community if the Petone monstrosity is anything to go by.

  4. Simon Wilson, 13. December 2017, 9:05

    Retirement village OR community facility in Karori? What? Come on WgtnCC, why don’t you require/persuade them to create an integrated community facility including retirement, kids playing fields etc? [via twitter]

  5. Michael, 13. December 2017, 9:41

    Well maybe it would be a great idea to write Rymans and ask if they will consider a children’s play area and a small park as part of the complex
    My mum was in Bob Scott’s for a while and even though they did not own the playing fields next door the residents spent a huge amount of time walking their dogs there and in the weekends watching all the activities = it was very good for their mental well being
    Just maybe, Rymans would consider something for the community that would also bring joy to their residents?? Give them a chance before you dismiss them. Can but try??

  6. Felix Geiringer, 13. December 2017, 10:01

    The Karori Campus was given to VUW for educational use. If VUW no longer needs it, the property should be re-nationalised. VUW can be refunded what they paid for it. [via twitter]

  7. TrevorH, 13. December 2017, 11:51

    What a depressing place to spend one’s last years and die. But at least there’s a cemetery nearby.

  8. Andy Mellon, 13. December 2017, 20:31

    @Felix. Where were those thoughts when Massey sold their Education campus last year?
    Sounds like both universities need to invest in their other buildings. If the proceeds weren’t being used for educational use, I might be more inclined to agree with you.

  9. Michael Gibson, 14. December 2017, 16:58

    Precisely, Andy. The whole thing hinges on the money.

  10. Megan Lloyd-Evans, 5. January 2018, 15:43

    Where will all those netball games move to?