Wananga landing Wananga landing

UC Community Engagement Hub

Te Pokapū Pāhekoheko Hapori

16 February 2024

UC's Te Pokapū Pāhekoheko Hapori | Community Engagement Hub has state of the art digital technologies, innovative spaces for research, learning and teaching; and social spaces that encourage collaboration and multidisciplinary ways of working. Check it out.


Welcome to the UC Community Engagement Hub, situated in our new home, Rehua, in the heart of the University of Canterbury Campus!  The kaupapa of the purpose built Rehua building echoes the ethos of the UC Community Engagement Hub by offering state of the art digital technologies, innovative spaces for research, learning and teaching, and social spaces that encourage collaboration and multidisciplinary ways of working.

Established in 2015, the UC Community Engagement Hub grew from the collective responses by UC staff and students to the earthquakes and other urgent community needs. In addition to having an impact of contributing over 30,000 hours locally, our global reach has been building and the Hub has cemented its place as an international destination for the academic study of volunteerism and disaster related community service.

The UC Community Engagement Hub has hosted or engaged with numerous international guests and groups. These include:

  • Prince Harry (2015)
  • Dr Jane Goodall (2017 and 2019)
  • Dr Maya Soetoro-Ng (2019)
  • Oxford University (2019)
  • Peking University (2016)
  • Sonoda Women’s University (2018 and 2019)
  • Sendai University (2019)
  • An exchange between UC students and student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (2018)
  • A post-cyclone service trip to Suango School and Vila North School in Vanuatu (2016)

Most recently, the Hub has been hosting a virtual exchange between staff at the University of Puerto Rico and UC following Hurricane Maria to deliver academic content about post-disaster delivery of health care. Our staff in Health Sciences are excited to use their post-earthquake experiences to assist our friends in the Caribbean.

Since its founding in 1873, the University of Canterbury has been a significant contributor to the cultural, economic, and intellectual life of Christchurch, New Zealand, and the world. This was especially evident following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 when over 11,000 students provided vital assistance throughout the city in the form of the Student Volunteer Army. They exemplified our vision of tangata tu tangata ora, people prepared to make a difference.

Following the earthquakes, UC staff and students collectively decided that the SVA ethos should become a formal part of the University’s future direction with the adoption of community engagement as a Graduate Profile pillar and the creation of the UC Community Engagement Hub. The Hub connects things that need doing in the community with staff and students to do them in academically appropriate ways. Activities range from removing graffiti; assisting in a community garden; helping produce data for an NGO; to providing support on many levels after a disaster overseas.

To advance community engagement, the UC Community Engagement Hub facilitates opportunities for all UC staff and students. The Hub does this through three activities.

  1. Engagement: Connect things that need doing to staff and students who can do them.
  2. Teaching: Promote and support the use of community-based projects within courses.
  3. Research: Pursue answers to relevant questions that are helpful to local and international community partners.

Since the inception of the Hub, UC staff and students have collaborated with the following community partners:

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority
  • Christchurch 360 Trail
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Cultivate Urban Farm
  • Drayton Eco Reserve
  • Gap Filler
  • Greening the Rubble
  • Grow Waitaha
  • Ilam Retirement Village
  • Ilam School
  • Kirkwood Intermediate School
  • Leadership in Communities Project
  • Phillipstown Community Hub
  • Project Lyttelton
  • Riccarton West Community Garden
  • Student Volunteer Army
  • Sumner School
  • University of Canterbury Students’ Association
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.