University of Otago

The University of Otago (Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou) is a public research collegiate university based in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. Founded in 1869, Otago is New Zealand’s oldest University and one of the oldest universities in Oceania.[5]

University of Otago
Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou
University clock tower
MottoLatin: Sapere aude
Motto in English
Dare to be wise
TypePublic research collegiate university
Established1869; 152 years ago
EndowmentNZD $279.9 million (31 December 2021)[1]
BudgetNZD $756.8 million (31 December 2020)[2]
ChancellorStephen Higgs
Vice-ChancellorDavid Murdoch[3]
Academic staff
1,744 (2019)[4]
Administrative staff
2,246 (2019)[4]
Students21,240 (2019)[4]
Undergraduates15,635 (2014)[4]
Postgraduates4,378 (2014)[4]
1,579 (2019)[4]
Location, ,
New Zealand (Māori: Ōtepoti, Ōtākou, Aotearoa)

45°51′56″S 170°30′50″E
CampusUrban/University town
45 ha (111 acres)
Student MagazineCritic
ColoursDunedin Blue and Gold

The university was created by a committee led by Thomas Burns,[6] and officially established by an ordinance of the Otago Provincial Council in 1869.[7] Between 1874 and 1961 the University of Otago was a part of the federal University of New Zealand, and issued degrees in its name.[8]

Otago is known for its vibrant student life, particularly its flatting, which is often in old houses. Otago students have a long-standing tradition of naming their flats.[9][10][11] The nickname for Otago students "Scarfie" comes from the habit of wearing a scarf during the cold southern winters.[12] The university's graduation song, Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum sumus ("Let us rejoice, while we are young"), acknowledges students will continue to live up to the challenge, if not always in the way intended. The university's student magazine, Critic, is New Zealand's longest running student magazine.

The university's architectural grandeur and accompanying gardens led to it being ranked as one of the world's most beautiful university campuses by the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph and American online news website The Huffington Post.[13][14]


The Registry Building (Clocktower Building), looking east.
Aerial view of the Dunedin campus. The Water of Leith runs through in the centre.
Dunedin campus in winter

The Otago Association's plan for the European settlement of southern New Zealand, conceived under the principles of Edward Gibbon Wakefield in the 1840s, envisaged a university.

Dunedin leaders Thomas Burns and James Macandrew urged the Otago Provincial Council during the 1860s to set aside a land endowment for an institute of higher education.[15] An ordinance of the council established the university in 1869, giving it 100,000 acres (400 km2) of land and the power to grant degrees in Arts, Medicine, Law and Music.[16] Burns was named Chancellor but he did not live to see the university open on 5 July 1871.[6][15]

The university conferred just one degree, to Alexander Watt Williamson, before becoming an affiliated college of the federal University of New Zealand in 1874. With the dissolution of the University of New Zealand in 1961 and the passage of the University of Otago Amendment Act 1961, the university resumed its power to confer degrees.[16]

Originally operating from William Mason's Post Office building on Princes Street, it relocated to Maxwell Bury's Clocktower and Geology buildings in 1878 and 1879.[16] This evolved into the Clocktower complex, a striking group of Gothic revival buildings at the heart of the campus. These buildings were inspired by the then-new main building at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Otago was the first university in Australasia to permit women to take a law degree.[17] Ethel Benjamin graduated LLB in 1897. Later that year she became the first woman in the British Empire to appear as counsel in court.[18]

The Otago University helped train medical personnel as part of the Otago University Medical Corps. They supplied or trained most of the New Zealand Army's doctors and dentists during the First World War.[19]

Professor Robert Jack made the first radio broadcast in New Zealand from the physics department on 17 November 1921.[20]

Queen Elizabeth II visited the university library with the Duke of Edinburgh on 18 March 1970. This was the first time the royals completed informal "walkabouts" to meet the public, and it was the first visit of Prince Charles (then 21 years old) and Princess Anne (19 years) to this country.[21]

Because it had a wide range of courses, Otago attracted more students from outside its provincial district. This led to the growth of colleges and informal accommodation in north Dunedin around the faculty buildings. This development of a residential campus gave Otago a more vibrant undergraduate student life at the same time as comparable but smaller developments in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland were eclipsed in the late 20th century. Otago now has the most substantial residential campus of any university in New Zealand or Australia, although this is not without its problems.

In May 2010 University joined the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU) together with Dartmouth College (US), Durham University (UK), Queen's University (Canada), University of Tübingen (Germany), University of Western Australia (Australia) and Uppsala University (Sweden).[22]

In December 2020, eight graduation ceremonies scheduled for that month were disrupted following threats to carry out a firearms and explosives attack on students attending graduation ceremonies scheduled for 7 and 8 December. On 18 December, a 22-year-old woman appeared in the Auckland District Court on charges of threatening harm to people or property. Court documents have described the threat as being of a "magnitude surpassing the March 15 Christchurch mosque massacres."[23][24] On 14 July, the woman, who has interim name suppression, admitted to threatening to carry out a firearms and explosives attack against Otago students. Her lawyer has applied for a discharge without conviction.[25]

Coat of arms

Coat of arms of the University of Otago
The Arms of the University of Otago were granted by the Lord Lyon on 21 January 1948 and based on the unauthorised arms used on the University's seal since 1870[26]
Azure, on a saltire cantoned between four mullets of six points Or, a book, gilt-edged and bound in a cover Gules charged with a mullet of six points of the second and a book-marker of the third issuance from the page-foot
Sapere Aude ('dare to be wise' or 'have courage to be wise')


180° view of Dunedin shot from the hills on the west. The University can be seen in front of the large hill to the left.

The University of Otago's main campus is in Dunedin, which hosts the Central Administration as well as its Health Sciences, Humanities, Business School, and Sciences divisions. In addition, the university has four satellite campuses in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Invercargill.[27]

  1. The Christchurch campus is based at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Science. It also provides medical and physiotherapy clinical training programs, research, distance education, and postgraduate programs.[27][28]
  2. The Wellington campus is based at the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Science. It also provides medical and physiotherapy clinical training programs, research, distance education, and postgraduate programs.[27][29]
  3. The Auckland campus is based at the Auckland Centre on Queen. The Auckland Centre provides various teaching and distance learning courses and serves as a liaison with the wider Auckland community and alumni.[30]
  4. The Southland Campus (Ahuahu Te Mātauranga) is a branch of the University of Otago College of Education. The campus provides a range of early childhood, primary, primary bilingual, and secondary teacher education programs.[27][31]
  5. The University of Otago's Department of Marine Science also operates the Portobello Marine Laboratory in the Otago peninsula.[32]

Merger with Dunedin College of Education

The University of Otago and the Dunedin College of Education (a specialist teacher training institution) merged on 1 January 2007. The University of Otago College of Education is now based on the college site, and includes the college's campuses in Invercargill and Alexandra. Staff of the university's Faculty of Education relocated to the college site. A merger had been considered before, however the present talks progressed further, and more amicably, than previously.


Interior of the Central Library

The University of Otago has ten libraries: seven based in Dunedin on the main university campus, the education library in Southland, plus two medical libraries in Wellington and Christchurch.[33] All libraries have wireless access.[34]

Central Library

The Central Library is part of the Information Services Building and has over 2000 study spaces, 130 computer terminals, and laptop connections at 500 desks. It has Te Aka a Tāwhaki, a collection of Māori resources,[35] and the Special Collections consisting of about 9,000 books printed before 1801. In total, the Central Library has over 800,000 print and electronic materials relating to the arts and humanities, commerce, education, physical education, social sciences, and technology.[36] It was designed by the American architecture firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer and opened in 2001, replacing what was previously a 1960s-era modernist building.

Robert Stout Law Library

The Robert Stout Law Library is the university's law library and is based in the Richardson Building.[37]

Health Sciences Library

The Health Sciences Library[33] is in the Sayers Building, opposite the main entrance to Dunedin Hospital. The Health Sciences Library book collection only includes the last 10 years of content, but does have over 150,000 volumes, the vast majority of which are in storage. There is seating for over 400.

Science Library

The Science Library[33] is at the north end of the campus in the Science III building, with seating for approximately 500.

Hocken Collections

The Hocken Collections is a research library, archive, and art gallery of national significance which is administrated by the University of Otago. The library's specialist areas include items relating to the history of New Zealand and the Pacific, with specific emphasis on the Otago and Southland regions. The Hocken Collections was established in 1910 when Dunedin philanthropist Thomas Hocken donated his entire private collection to the University of Otago. It currently houses over 8,000 linear metres of archives and manuscripts. It is currently situated at the site of the former Otago Co-operative Dairy Company factory on Anzac Avenue, east of the main campus.[36][38]

Robertson Library

The Robertson Library is the university's education library and is jointly run by the University of Otago's College of Education and Otago Polytechnic, which is also located near the university's Dunedin campus.[39]

Other libraries

The Wellington Medical and Health Sciences Library and the Canterbury Medical Library provide services to University of Otago students and staff, and the staff of the local District Health Boards.[40][41] The university's Southland Campus also has a library.[33]

Organisation and administration

The Lindo Ferguson Building, home to the Departments of Anatomy and Physiology
The university's research vessel Polaris II entering Otago Harbour

The university is divided into four academic divisions:

  • Division of Humanities
  • Division of Health Sciences
  • Division of Sciences
  • Otago Business School

For external and marketing purposes, the Division of Commerce is known as the Otago Business School, as that is the term commonly used for its equivalent in North America. Historically, there were a number of schools and faculties, which have now been grouped with stand alone departments to form these divisions.

In addition to the usual university disciplines, the University of Otago Medical School (founded 1875) is one of only two medical schools in New Zealand (with component schools in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington); and Otago is the only university in the country to offer training in Dentistry. Other professional schools and faculties not found in all New Zealand universities include Pharmacy, Physical Education, Physiotherapy, Medical Laboratory Science, and Surveying. It was also home to the School of Mines, until this was transferred to the University of Auckland in 1987. Theology is also offered, traditionally in conjunction with the School of Ministry, Knox College, and Holy Cross College, Mosgiel.

There are also a number of service divisions including:

  • External Engagement Division
  • Financial Services Division
  • Human Resources Division
  • Information Technology Services Division
  • Property Services Division
  • Research & Enterprise Division
  • Student Services Division

Student body


Enrolment By Qualification Type[42] 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Doctoral 1,579 1,541 1,501 1,411 1,387 1,389 1,361 1,377 1,259 1,258 1,206 1,104 1,048 935 829 755 723
Masters' 1,469 1,360 1,261 1,287 1,224 1,214 1,216 1,281 969 979 921 874 838 1,052 1,108 1,060 994
Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates 1,591 1,691 1,762 1,654 1,542 1,388 1,383 1,477 1,541 1,660 1,620 1,566 1,435 1,507 1,378 1,353 1,345
Graduate Diplomas 192 215 243 294 314 388 416 426 475 487 405 317 494 204 392 314 298
Bachelor's with Honours 396 404 366 385 451 434 460 524 873 854 843 723 750 736 769 771 763
Bachelor's Ordinary 14,728 14,677 14,448 14,598 14,559 15,136 15,489 15,762 15,593 15,780 15,359 13,347 13,136 12,868 12,939 12,711 12,186
Undergraduate Diplomas and Certificates 14 17 20 29 39 65 73 92 116 152 169 133 265 216 239 318 344
Certificate of Proficiency 1,576 1,455 1,492 1,493 1,442 1,284 1,228 1,171 1,326 1,450 1,419  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Interest Only 13 5 11 1 4 10 0 0  ? 223 150  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Foundation Studies 263 298 305 292 316 300 303 266 254 273 282  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Total 21,240 21,108 20,838 20,814 20,601 20,942 21,113 21,416 21,728 22,139 21,507 20,752 20,665 19,853 20,057 19,674 18,844
Gender of Students[43] 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Female 12,711 12,588 12,272 12,147 11,879
Male 8,510 8,519 8,565 8,665 8,720
Gender diverse 19 1 1 2 2
Total 21,240 21,108 20,838 20,814 20,601
Ethnicity of Students[44] 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
European/Pākehā 71.5% 71.4% 72.4% 73.1% 73.4% 74.3% 74.3% 74.8% 75.0% 75.6% 75.7% 76.8% 68.4% 68.3% 69.1% 69.5%
Māori 10.3% 9.9% 9.3% 8.9% 8.5% 8.5% 8.0% 7.8% 7.6% 7.6% 7.5% 7.3% 6.9% 6.4% 6.2% 6.1%
Asian 20.3% 20.5% 19.8% 19.2% 18.8% 18.3% 18.6% 18.3% 17.9% 17.2% 16.9% 16.0% 15.6% 16.5% 16.1% 15.2%
Pacific Islanders 5.0% 4.7% 4.5% 4.2% 3.9% 3.6% 3.2% 3.1% 3.1% 3.1% 3.0% 2.8% 2.6% 2.6% 2.5% 2.5%
Middle Eastern / Latin American / African 3.7% 3.6% 3.4% 3.4% 3.6%  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?
Other / unknown 3.8% 3.7% 3.9% 3.7% 3.6% 3.2% 3.3% 2.9% 2.9% 2.5% 5.3% 4.4% 6.5% 6.2% 6.1% 6.6%



Many Fellowships add to the diversity of the people associated with "Otago". They include:

  • Robert Burns Fellowship (literature)
  • Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance
  • Charles Hercus Fellowship
  • Claude McCarthy Fellowship
  • Foxley Fellowship
  • Frances Hodgkins Fellowship (art)
  • Henry Lang Fellowship
  • Hocken Fellowship
  • James Cook Fellowship
  • Mozart Fellowship (music)
  • THB Symons Fellowship
  • William Evans Visiting Fellowship

In 1998, the physics department gained some fame for making the first Bose–Einstein condensate in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 2006 Government investigation into research quality (to serve as a basis for future funding) ranked Otago the top University in New Zealand overall, taking into account the quality of its staff and research produced. It was also ranked first in the categories of Clinical Medicine, Biomedical Science, Law, English Literature and Language, History and Earth Science. The Department of Philosophy received the highest score for any nominated academic unit. Otago had been ranked fourth in the 2004 assessment.

In 2006, a report released by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology found that Otago was the most research intensive university in New Zealand, with 40% of staff time devoted to research and development.[45]

Journal "Science" has recommended worldwide study of Otago's Biochemistry database "Transterm", which has genomic data on 40,000 species.[46]


University rankings
Global – Overall
ARWU World[47]301–400
QS World[48]184
THE World[49]201–250

The University of Otago is consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world.[50][51] The University has also been rated 5-Stars Plus by QS Stars in the QS World University Rankings. This is the maximum rating achievable under the QS Stars System, which takes into account the quality of Otago’s facilities, teaching, graduate employability, internationalisation, and inclusiveness.[52] Besides having 5 subjects in the top 50 in the world, the University of Otago has 10 subjects ranked between 51st and 100th in QS World University Rankings. As well as having 15 subjects in the top 100 in the world, Otago has another 7 subjects in the top 101 to 150 band, and 6 subjects in the top 151 to 200 band.[53] In 2015, the University of Otago became the first New Zealand university to have a course in a QS Top 10 list, being ranked 8th in Dentistry.[54]

World university rankings
Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)[55][56] Academic Ranking of World Universities Times Higher Education
2021 184 301–400 201–250
2020 176 301–400 201–250
2019 175 301–400 201–250
2018 151 301–400 201–250
2017 173 301–400 201–250
2016 169 201–300 201–250
2015 173 201–300 251–275
2014 159 201–300 226–250
2013 155 201–300 226–250
2012 133 201–300 201–225
2011 130 201–300 201–225
2010 135 201–300 200+
2009 125 201–302 NA
2008 124= 201–302 NA
2007 114= 305–402 NA

Residential colleges

St Margaret's College
Selwyn College

The University of Otago owns, or is in affiliation with, fourteen residential colleges, which provide food, accommodation, social and welfare services. Most of these cater primarily for first year students, though some have a sizable number of second and higher year undergraduates, as well as occasionally a significant postgraduate population. While some teaching is normally undertaken at a college, this generally represents a small percentage of a resident's formal tuition.

Most colleges actively seek to foster a sense of community and academic achievement amongst their members through, variously, intercollegiate competitions, communal dining, apartment groups, traditionalism, independent students' clubs, college events and internal sporting and cultural societies.

The colleges are geographically spread over the Dunedin urban area:

  • Aquinas College
  • Arana College
  • Caroline Freeman College
  • Carrington College
  • Cumberland College
  • Hayward College
  • Knox College
  • Salmond College
  • Selwyn College
  • St Margaret's College
  • Studholme College
  • Te Rangi Hiroa College
  • Toroa College
  • University College

In mid October 2019, the University of Otago announced that it would be building a new 450-room residential college called Te Rangi Hiroa, which will replace the current Te Rangi Hiroa College along Cumberland Street. The new college is estimated to cost NZ$90 million and is located on the corner of Albany and Forth Streets near the Dunedin campus.[57][58]

Student life


Participants in the annual clocktower race lining up, ready to go.

'O-Week' or Orientation Week is the Otago equivalent of Freshers' Week. New students are most commonly known by their seniors as 'freshers' or simply as 'first-years'. O-week is organised by the Otago University Students' Association and involves competitions such as 'Fresher of the Year' whereby several students volunteer to carry out a series of tasks throughout the week before being voted to win. Other competitions include that of different faculties facing off with each other. The OUSA also organises events each night including various concerts, a comedy night, hypnotist plus bigger events at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Typically there is a Highlanders rugby game scheduled during the week. Local bars organise events also with a range of live music and promotional deals. Historically events have included the Cookathon and a Miss O-Week competition hosted by The Outback.[59] The Cookathon was held by a local pub (the Cook) with the premise that your first drink costs you about $20 which gives you a t-shirt, three meal vouchers and reduced price on drinks then you spend the rest of the day binge drinking and 'telephoning' the occasional jug with mates.[60]


Each year the first years are encouraged to attend the toga parade and party dressed in white sheets wrapped as togas. Retailers called for an end of the parade after property damage and disorder during the 2009 event.[61][62] However, the OUSA took it upon themselves to reintroduce this tradition, with a festival like event taking place at the stadium. 2012 Toga Party saw an unofficial world record. A clocktower race also occurs, in the style of Chariots of Fire. Students must race round the tower and attached building, beginning on the first chime of the clock at noon and completing before the chimes cease. Unlike Chariots of Fire, the task is possible with a couple of students completing each year.

Behavioural issues

Student behaviour is a major concern for both the university administration and Dunedin residents in general. Concerns over student behaviour prompted the university to introduce a Code of Conduct (CoC) which its students must abide by in 2007. The introduction of the CoC was accompanied by the establishment of the dedicated 'Campus Watch' security force to keep tabs on crime and anti-social behaviour on campus and in the student neighbourhoods nearby. Campus Watch reports directly to the university's Proctor.


Riots took place in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 related to events surrounding the Undie 500 car rally organised by students from Canterbury University. Other student social events during the year such as the Toga Parade and the Hyde Street Keg Race are also notable for attracting police attention, but not to the scale of the Undie riots. In 2012 there were 80 people treated by emergency services and 15 arrests by police after the Hyde Street party went out of control.[63][64]


Otago students are notable for protesting over contentious political issues in nearly every decade. In the 1960s students at Otago who were involved with the Progressive Youth Movement led protests against the Vietnam War. In the 1960s mixed flatting (males and females were prohibited from sharing housing up to that time) was contested in various creative ways by Otago students.[65] On 28 September 1993 Otago students protested against a fee increase at the University Registry (Clocktower Building), which ended in a violent clash with police.[66] In the lead up to the 1996 general election students trying to stop a 25% fee increase occupied the University Registry (Clocktower Building) for over a week (which was followed by similar occupations at campuses around the country), fee increases were limited to 17%.[67] Since 2004, the Otago University NORML club, led by Abe Gray,[68] met weekly on the Otago campus to protest by smoking cannabis in defiance of New Zealand's cannabis laws. In 2008, several members were arrested and issued with trespass notices banning them from the Union Lawn.[69][70][71]

Notable people


The following is a list of chancellors of the University of Otago.[72]

Name Portrait Term
1Thomas Burns1869–1871
2John Richardson1871–1876
3Henry Samuel Chapman1876–1879
4Donald Stuart1879–1894
5Joshua Williams1894–1909
6James Allen1909–1912
7Andrew Cameron1912–1925
8Thomas Sidey1925–1933
9William John Morrell1933–1945
10David Herron1946–1955
11Hubert Ryburn1955–1970
12Stuart Sidey1970–1976
13Jack Somerville1976–1982
14Jim Valentine1982–1992
15Judith Medlicott1993–1998
16Eion Edgar1999–2003
17Lindsay Brown2004–2008
18John Ward2009–2017
19Royden Somerville2018–2022
20Stephen Higgs2022–present

The following is a list of vice-chancellors of the university:[73]

Name Portrait Term
1 Robert Aitken 1948–1953
2 Frederick Soper 1953–1963
3 Arthur Beacham 1964–1966
4 Robin Williams 1967–1973
5 Robin Irvine 1973–1993
6 Graeme Fogelberg 1994–2004
7 David Skegg 2004–2011
8 Harlene Hayne 2011–2021
9 David Murdoch 2022–present


Alice Copping
  • Muriel Bell, nutritionist and medical researcher
  • Agnes Blackie, first female physics academic
  • Robert J. T. Bell, mathematician
  • Noel Benson, geologist
  • Carolyn Burns, Marsden Medal winning zoologist
  • Jennie Connor Medicine
  • Alice Copping, nutritionist
  • Alison Cree, herpetologist
  • Marie Crowe, psychotherapy academic
  • John Crump, infectious diseases specialist
  • Michael Cullen, politician
  • Catherine Day, biochemist
  • Sarah Derrett, injury prevention specialist
  • John Carew Eccles, medical researcher
  • Norman Lowther Edson, biochemistry
  • Solomon Faine, microbiologist
  • J.N. Findlay, philosopher
  • Jim Flynn, intelligence researcher and political philosopher
  • Abe Gray, founder of the Whakamana Cannabis Museum, high-profile cannabis activist and protester for almost two decades[68]
  • David Harris, software developer
  • Janet Hoek, public health
  • Christina Hulbe, Antarctic researcher, glaciologist
  • Keith Hunter, Marsden Medal winning marine chemist
  • Robert Jack, physicist
  • Leopold Kirschner, bacteriologist
  • Pat Langhorne, physicist
  • Raechel Laing, clothing and textiles researcher
  • J. L. Mackie, philosopher
  • Brian John Marples (1907–1967), Professor of Zoology 1937–1967[74]
  • Alan Musgrave, philosopher of science
  • Lisa Matisoo-Smith, Professor of Biological Anthropology and Head of the Department of Anatomy
  • Pauline Norris, pharmacy professor
  • Patricia Priest, epidemiologist and professor of public health
  • Elaine Reese, psychology professor[75]
  • Christina Riesselman, paleoceanographer
  • Bridget Robinson, Mackenzie Chair in Cancer Medicine
  • Abigail Smith, professor in marine sciences[76]
  • David Skegg, epidemiologist
  • Rachael Taylor
  • Virginia Toy, geology
  • Gillian Whalley, medical research


(with residential college, if any, in parentheses where known)

Robert Stout, 13th Premier
  • Arthur Henry Adams, journalist and writer
  • Barbara Anderson, novelist
  • Rui Maria de Araújo, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste
  • Annette Baier, moral philosopher
  • Muriel Bell, nutritionist and medical researcher
  • David Benson-Pope, politician
  • W. D. Borrie, demographer
  • Christine Jensen Burke, mountain climber
  • Dame Silvia Cartwright, Governor General
  • Brian Christie, neuroscientist
  • Nathan Cohen, world champion and Olympic champion rower
  • John Coverdale, academic psychiatrist
  • John Crump, infectious diseases specialist
  • David Cunliffe (Carrington), politician
  • Helen Danesh-Meyer, ophthalmology academic
  • Thomas Davis, politician, diplomat and researcher
  • Glen Denham, Tall Black
  • Derek Denny-Brown
  • Sarah Derrett, injury prevention specialist
  • Archibald Durward FRSE, anatomist
  • Marc Ellis (University College), All Black
Bill English, 39th Prime Minister
  • Bill English (Selwyn), 39th Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • Solomon Faine, microbiologist
  • Janet Frame, writer
  • Ian Fraser, broadcaster
  • Caroline Freeman, first female graduate of the University of Otago
  • William Fyfe, geochemist
  • Jon Gadsby, comedian and actor
  • John Gallas, poet and educator
  • Abe Gray, founder of the Whakamana Cannabis Museum, high-profile cannabis activist and protester for almost two decades[68]
  • Sir Harold Delf Gillies, plastic surgeon
  • Sir Malcolm Grant (Selwyn), lawyer and Vice-Chancellor of University College London (2003–13); subsequently Chairman of NHS England and Chancellor of the University of York
  • Stephen Guest, legal academic
  • Geoffrey Harding OAM, medical practitioner
  • Graeme Hart, businessman
  • Volker Heine, physicist
  • Jan Hellriegel, singer/songwriter
  • Greg Henderson, cyclist
  • Sir Peter Buck, doctor, military leader, health administrator, politician, anthropologist and museum director.
  • Brent Hodge (Cumberland), director
Fergus Hume, novelist
Tania Lineham
Lord Porritt, athlete, physician and 11th Governor-General
  • Lord Porritt (Selwyn), Olympian, physician to the Queen and Governor General
  • Arthur Prior, philosopher
  • Lauren Kim Roche, physician and author
  • Emily Siedeberg, first female medical graduate
  • Penny Simmonds, politician
  • Robert Stout (Aquinas), Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • Sulaiman Daud, politician
  • Sione Tapa, Tongan Minister of Health
  • Peter Tapsell, politician
  • Pobert H Wade LSE Professor
  • Jeremy Waldron, legal philosopher
  • Murray Webb, cricketer and caricaturist
  • Bridget Williams, publisher
  • Allan Wilson, molecular biologist

Rhodes Scholars

list of Rhodes Scholars:

Jack Lovelock, athlete

(College at Oxford in brackets)(Source: List of NZ Rhodes Scholars)

  • 1907 d Colin Macdonald Gilray (University)
  • 1923 d Rt Hon. Lord Arthur Espie Porritt (Magdalen)
  • 1931 d Dr John Edward (Jack) Lovelock (Exeter)
  • 1932 d Sir Geoffrey Sandford Cox (Oriel)
  • 1934 d Norman Davis (Merton)
  • 1936 d Daniel Marcus Davin[77] (Balliol)
  • 1952 Hon. Hugh Templeton (Balliol)
  • 1960 Dr James Julian Bennett Jack (Magdalen)
  • 1968 Christopher Robert Laidlaw (Merton)
  • 1985 Dr David Kirk (Worcester)
  • 1988 Dr Ceri Lee Evans (Worcester)
  • 2007 Holly Walker (University)

See also

  • University of Otago School of Performing Arts and Allen Hall Theatre
  • List of Honorary Doctors of the University of Otago
  • Scarfies


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  5. "Study at University of Otago, New Zealand | myglobaluni".
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  8. "University of Otago, New Zealand". Retrieved 1 April 2022.
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