The University Council has made a draft decision to recommend that the Minister of Education 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 draft decision also includes a commitment to the ongoing use of the word ‘Victoria’ to ensure its heritage is honoured and maintained.
The Council’s decision paper, which outlines the rationale for the change, the research that supports it and the process followed in coming to a draft decision is available here. Further and final feedback on the name simplification proposal can be lodged over the next two weeks.
Victoria University of Wellington Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith says the draft decision has not been made lightly and follows a thorough process and debate involving consideration of a wide range of evidence and advice from staff, students, alumni, partners of the University, university marketing experts and other universities around the world that have changed their name.
He thanked everyone who has provided feedback on the proposed change.
“Council members are agreed that the proposed change is an important action looking to the University’s future,” says Mr Paviour-Smith.
“It will allow the University to better align with the city of Wellington, support our commitment to being a global-civic university and, over time, help improve our international reputation through better clarity and recognition of the University’s name. This, in turn, will help with student and staff recruitment and lead to more collaborations with top-ranked institutions.”
He says the planned change in the University’s Māori name is also a future-focused move.
“Te Herenga Waka is the name of our marae and represents the very essence of all things Māori at our University. This inclusive name draws our communities together and puts them at the heart of the University.”
Mr Paviour-Smith says the University is acutely aware of the importance of heritage and the need to ensure the word Victoria plays an active role in the life of the University into the future.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the proposed name simplification is part of a wider programme of work to build the University’s international reputation.
“Building a strong international reputation in addition to our already strong domestic reputation is critical to having a sustainable future. Like all universities in New Zealand, we are dependent on international staff and students and, at the same time, our staff have an ambition to be ranked among the world’s best universities. To succeed, 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.”
Professor Guilford says the university ranking agencies QS and Times Higher Education believe the name simplification will be beneficial for the University’s international reputation.
One of the main drivers behind the proposed name simplification is the confusion caused by Victoria University of Wellington’s name given the number of other tertiary institutions around the world that have Victoria in their name says Professor Guilford. Another is more visible alignment with Wellington and with the University’s global-civic vision, mission and positioning as New Zealand’s globally ranked capital city university.
The University Council is expected to make a final decision at its 27 August meeting.