The Whiria Project

The Whiria Project is reviewing the structure of our University to align structure to strategy and ensure we can achieve the aspirations of our Strategic Plan.

The word 'whiria' means 'to plait'. The project is focused on discussing the preferred academic organisational structure of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Read the discussion document

The discussion document articulates the thinking to date on how to mesh and unclog the academic organisational structure.


It's been 25 years since the last major structural review. Our current structure is complex (a three-tier hierarchy of mega-schools, faculties, and mega-faculties with affiliated programmes, centres, and institutes) and has many boundaries to collaboration and communication.

While 2020 has been a tough year for the University community, the impact of COVID-19 will be felt even more strongly in 2021 and 2022. For this reason, the University is focusing now on thinking carefully about what we value about our academic structures, what we want to retain and what we want to improve.


The overarching goal of The Whiria Project is to empower our people to achieve the aspirations in our Strategic Plan and to reduce barriers that inhibit our research, teaching, and engagement. More detailed objectives are outlined in the discussion document.

Design principles

The design principles adopted for the project are also outlined in the discussion document.

Draft recommendations

Senior leaders throughout the University have been debating how best to reflect the objectives and design principles in a new structure and have made a series of draft recommendations. These are now being discussed throughout the University.

The Whiria discussion document is a starting point for discussion and no decisions have been made.

Have your say

Provide feedback on the discussion document, by emailing by Monday 14 September 2020.

This is an opportunity for all staff and students to provide input into the kind of changes you’d like to see to make the University a more rewarding place to study and work.

Everyone is encouraged to think widely and broadly and to consider how we can do things better, rather than just focusing on the challenges.

Next steps

The feedback gathered from across the University community will be considered by senior University staff, before being reported back to staff, students, and Council.

This report-back on the academic structure will conclude The Whiria Project.

The information gathered may be used to inform future discussions alongside other work.