The University Council today voted in favour of making a recommendation to the Minister of Education to approve University of Wellington as the new legal name for the University, as well as adopt a new Māori name of Te Herenga Waka.
The decision includes a commitment to the ongoing use of the word ‘Victoria’ to ensure its heritage is honoured and maintained.
The Council’s decision follows well over a year of research, seeking advice from experts and discussion with staff, students, alumni and stakeholders, including a consultation period during which close to 2,500 submissions were received.
Victoria University of Wellington Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith says the decision is one key part of the next step in achieving the University’s vision and long-term prosperity.
“We are unreservedly ambitious in our aspiration to be a world-leading capital city university and one of the great global-civic universities. Central to that is partnering with Wellington to ensure that together the University and city provide a first-class student experience.
“The name University of Wellington contributes to that vision by helping to differentiate us internationally from all the other tertiary institutions with Victoria in their name. It also firmly aligns our destiny with that of Wellington and highlights our role as New Zealand’s globally ranked capital city university.”
Mr Paviour-Smith says the decision has been a challenging one for Council members, who are acutely aware of the attachment some members of the University community have to the current name.
“I would like to thank everyone who has provided feedback and acknowledge the care and attention that has gone into many of the submissions.
“They highlight the pride and loyalty people have in this University. We now embark on a new chapter in the University’s development and we encourage everyone in our community to be part of that future.”
Pro-Chancellor of the University Dame Therese Walsh says Council members have given full consideration to all issues raised during the wider name change discussion. “There is significant breadth and depth of experience around the Council table and our communities and the public can have confidence in the rigour with which we considered the information presented.”
Council member Robyn Bargh says it has been pleasing to see the support for the adoption of Te Herenga Waka as the University’s new Māori name.
“It is not iwi specific and reflects all the different peoples who come here to study or to work. It is a name we can be proud of.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says: “Great cities have great universities that share their name and this common bond allows the achievements of one to build the reputation of the other. We are proud to be training and attracting the talent that Wellington needs to thrive long-term.”
He says the name change will be a cornerstone of a wider programme of work to build the University’s international reputation.
“Our financial sustainability and long-term viability—let alone our ambition to be one of the great global-civic universities—cannot be assured on domestic tuition fees and Government funding alone. We must build an even greater global reputation. One that strengthens our international competitiveness and that thereby reduces the likelihood that the current financial pressures and disruptions affecting the tertiary sector will set us on a path to mediocrity.
“To strengthen our global reputation, we must have a distinctive name that stands on its own in the more than 100 countries from which we recruit our staff and students, and in which our graduates work.”
The recommendation paper provided to Council by the Vice-Chancellor is available on the University’s website.