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'Proctor's Stocks' now back outside the Proctor's Office

There is now a memorial for former University of Otago Proctor Ron Chambers, outside the Proctors' Office. It is a replica of his 'Proctor's Stocks' - a humorous tribute that was made for him in 1999 and put up outside his office near the corner of St David and Castle Street. They stayed there until 2001 when they were removed to make way for new buildings.

Ron Chambers was the University of Otago Proctor for 21 years from 1980 to 2001, and was well loved and respected by both staff and students. The stocks were fondly remembered by Ron in his autobiography, Justice and Jellybeans, which was published in 2006.

After Ron’s death in October last year, Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne put forward the idea of returning the stocks as a permanent memorial, and when they could not be located, Deputy Proctor Andrew Ferguson spent a couple of days in his garage and reproduced a replica of them from old photos he had found.

The “new” stocks, now located outside the Proctor’s office, were unveiled at a ceremony today, attended by Sharon, her brother Iain Chambers, and also the former Campus Cop and friend of Ron’s, Kevin Meechen.

Both Sharon and Iain agreed their dad would have been “chuffed” to see them replaced near the spot where the original stocks were located.

Sharon posed for photographers with her head and arms in the stocks.“I have a phobia about having my photo taken, but I had to do this for my dad,” she says.

Iain, who works at the Hocken Library, is pleased there is now a monument to his dad, and says Ron would have liked it very much. It was particularly special for him, as he frequently walked past this spot on his way to work.

“It’s a mark of how well liked he was, and how well respected. I’m so pleased this has happened,” he says.

The stocks are accompanied by a plaque that explains the why they are there, and people will be welcome to “have a go”. However the stocks will be padlocked at the end of each day, and they are also monitored by a security camera.

Do you have fond memories of Ron Chambers? And do you remember the original stocks? Join us on Facebook and share your memories!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo by Emma Allen.

Jamie Joseph's Otago memories

Alumnus and Otago Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph sat down with Dr Dave Gerrard to chat about rugby, his memories of Otago and life in general. The story featured in our eConnect 5 newsletter - but if you missed it, you can watch the interview here!

Don't forget to join us on Facebook as well, to keep up with all of the latest and connect with other Otago alumni!


Otago Alumna brings WW1 play to the Dunedin Fringe Festival



Jan Bolwell recounts her grandfather's war on the Western Front. Playing her adolescent self, she coaxes him into revealing what happened in the trenches.


"Bolwell excels in this human and moving re-telling of her grandfather's experience of World Wawr One." - Raymond Hawthorne, New Zealand Theatre Director.


Venue: Dunedin Community Gallery

Time: 6.30pm

Duration: 1 hour

Price: $23 public $20 concession

All ages


You can purchase tickets from



Otago alumni in the New Year Honours list

We would like to extend our warm congratulations to our Otago alumni who made the New Year Honours list. These outstanding alumni, and their appointments, are as follows:

  • Professor Murray Frederick Brennan GNZM for services to medicine
  • Ms Robyn Jane Baker ONZM for services to education
  • Ms Susan Marie Paterson ONZM for services to corporate governance
  • Mr Gregory John Dickson MNZM for services to the cargo industry
  • Mr John Anthony Fallon MNZM for services to people with mental illnesses
  • Mr Thomas McNeil Pryde MNZM for services to sport and the community
  • Ms Susannah Adair Staley MNZM for services to governance
  • Mr Brian Edward Hayes QSO for services to the land tenure system
  • Mrs Maria Elizabeth Collins QSM for services to the community and music
  • Reverend Tom Etuata QSM for services to the Pacific community
  • Mrs Marjory Jean Goldschmidt QSM for services to the community
  • Major Barbara June Sampson QSM for services to the community
  • Mr David Neil Sinclair QSM for services to philanthropy and the community
  • Mr Peter Humphrey Willsman QSM for services to conservation and the community

We are so proud of these distinguished alumni and their contribution to New Zealand society. Congratulations once again.

Plantae competition winner!

Congratulations to Melissa McCabe, who won our online competition for a prize pack from Plantae organic skincare, valued at $512.

Plantae is an organic skincare company started by the Priest family - Janelle and Jacinta Priest (BCom, BA; and BCom) studied Management, Marketing and Classics at Otago, and we profiled them in both the Otago Magazine, and in our online Q&A.

Congratulations Melissa on your win!

Click here to read the online Q&A again!

Ten years of Leading Thinkers

Otago’s Leading Thinkers Initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary at a function at the University's Staff Club last night.

The Initiative was Otago’s first major development campaign, aiming to raise $50 million in five years between private sector donations and matched investment from the government.

Established in 2004 under the government’s Partnership for Excellence Framework, the campaign aimed to support world class scholarship at Otago in areas considered vital for New Zealand's future well-being.

It raised $51.7 million for 27 new knowledge leader projects – including the Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies, the Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics, and the Edgar National Centre for Diabetes Research and Education. Academics were recruited from around New Zealand and the world to fill these prestigious positions.

As part of the celebrations, donors and leading thinkers were presented with a limited-edition book featuring texts and photos highlighting the outstanding achievements of each research centre over the past decade.

Former Head of Alumni Relations Alison Finigan, who edited the book, says it is a way for the University to acknowledge the generosity of the donors and to update them on how the projects they funded have progressed.

“What the Leading Thinker academics and their research centres have been doing over the past 10 years is astounding. Bringing their stories together into a book really highlights what a difference a generous donation can make to advancing knowledge that is truly life-changing on a global scale."

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and for the Leading Thinkers collage image:

Some of Otago's Leading Thinkers (clockwise from left): Professor Liam Mcilvanney, Stuart Chair in Scottish Studies; Professor John McCall, McKenzie Chair in Clinical Science; Professor Jim Mann, Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre; Professor Kurt Krause, Centre for Molecular Research in Infectious Diseases; and Dr Jennifer Moore, Legal Issues Centre.

'Science Notes' turns 100 episodes old

Science radio show Science Notes has aired its 100th episode, after four and a half years of being on the air.

Senior Teaching Fellow Dr Dave McMorran created the show for graduate science students to share their research with the community.

“The show tries to explain what the students are doing in a way that is accessible and interesting to all listeners,” Dr McMorran says. “I learn a lot from the students.”

“If I had to pick one or two highlights, then I might choose the show I did with Suzie Waring, who was using advanced surface spectroscopy to work out how food sticks to plates, and so make a better dishwasher. Or perhaps the show with Kendal Gadomski, who was studying how oysters reproduce in Foveaux Straight. Or maybe Lorna Little, who visited the island of Svalbard in Norway to study how plants adapt to having almost no daylight for most of the year.”

"They may be a little anxious going into the studio, however, they’ve all said afterwards how much they have enjoyed and valued the experience."

Dr McMorran says that the students are sometimes nervous about discussing their work live on air.

“They may be a little anxious going into the studio, however, they’ve all said afterwards how much they have enjoyed and valued the experience.”

In 2011 the show received a Certificate of Achievement at the Otago Access Radio awards evening.

Anyone interested in being on the show with Dr McMorran should contact him at

Science Notes airs Thursday evenings at 6.30pm on Otago Access Radio.


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo of Dr Dave McMorran and Tei Kim, a PhD student in Chemistry, at the 100th episode of Science Notes.


'Molecular Machines' free Genetics Otago event

Click to enlarge

If you're interested in the microsopic world inside our bodies, then this free event at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is for you!

Drew Berry is an Emmy and Bafta Award winning biomedical animator whose scientifically accurate and aesthetically rich visualisations reveal the microscopic world of the human body.

Drew’s animations have stunned audiences at venues such as the Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Royal Institute of Great Britain and the University of Geneva so this will be a very worthwhile event.

Wednesday 26th November 6.30 to 7.30pm at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Complimentary refreshments from 6pm. All welcome. Free of charge.

Any enquiries please contact

Gut Health Network Meeting

The Gut Health Network Meeting takes place onTuesday 25 November from 12.00pm at SkyCity in Auckland.

An invitation is extended to those of you who would like to attend this inaugural scientific meeting of the Gut Health Network, in collaboration with the Annual Meeting of the New Zealand Society of Gastroenterology. 

Professor Charles MacKay, immunologist from Monash University and Professor Gerald Tannock, microbiologist and James Cook Fellow from the University of Otago are plenary speakers.

Registration to the scientific meeting is free, but a registration fee applies if you stay for the whole NZSG meeting (

If you plan to register, please RSVP to Jan Kettink for catering purposes.


Allen Hall Centenary video

If you're an Allen Hall alumna or alumnus, you'll love this video from the recent Centenary celebrations. It features comedian Te Radar, and Lisa Warrington, among others. Perhaps you will recognise some of your own former classmates...

Let us know if you recognise anyone, and of course we'd love to hear your own memories of Allen Hall. Email us at or join us on our Facebook!

Science Communication Success and 2014 Premiere at the Regent Theatre

It’s a great week for the Otago Centre for Science Communication. Alumna Ashwika Kapur has won a prestigious British award for her film ‘Sirocco – How a Dud Became a Stud’, and the premiere of films by the class of 2014 is being held at the Regent Theatre this Saturday.
Prestigious Newcomers Award at Wildscreen goes to Otago alumna Ashwika Kapur

Ashwika Kapur has won a ‘Panda’ at the prestigious Wildscreen Film Festival in Britain. Her film ‘Sirocco – How a Dud Became a Stud’ took the Newcomer’s Award. Films about Asiatic Lions and Rhinos were the other contenders, but Ashwika’s film about the kakapo Sirocco, made largely at the Orokonui Sanctuary, ran away with the prize.

The Wildscreen Film Festival is held every second year in Bristol and celebrates natural history and wildlife filmmaking. It attracts entries from all around the world.

Last year Ashwika was a postgraduate student studying at the Centre for Science Communication’s Film Course at the University of Otago. The film ‘Sirocco – How a Dud Became a Stud’ was her major creative project for the year. This year she’s back in her home country of India, working as an Assistant Producer on a major new series being produced by Natural History New Zealand.

“This is a stunning award. Winning at Wildscreen is about as good as it gets” says Ross Johnston, Director of Filmmaking at the Centre for Science Communication. “It’s perfect recognition for a student who worked exceptionally hard during her time at the Centre”.

The Centre’s Director, Professor Lloyd Davis, said that films made by Otago students had been remarkably successful at Wildscreen over the last decade, consistently being recognised as finalists in the newcomers’ category, and last winning the award in 2006.

Visit the Facebook page for 'Sirocco - How a Dud Became a Stud' here.
Class of 2014 Premiere at the Regent Theatre

The films made by this year’s Masters students will be premiered at the Regent Theatre on November the 1st.

One $10 ticket allows you to see ALL the films, and can be purchased now at the Regent Theatre. 

Films and Session Times

4.00pm Session

A secret bounty, a public betrayal

Battling Extinction
Fighting for our forgotten mammals

Secrets in Sarah's cells

The Wild Wet
Survival in the planet's oldest rainforest

7.30pm Session

Becoming Giants
Seaweed, scientists and survival.

Me, Myself and i-Robi
A glimpse into a robotic retirement

A Beetle Abroad
New Zealand's unlikely hero

Pest Free?
Can New Zealand achieve the impossible?

We hope so see you there, and look forward to hearing how you enjoyed the films! Join us on our Facebook, or email us at


Awards for Medical teachers

If you are alumni of the Dunedin School of Medicine, you might recognise these names...

The School has chosen the winner of their annual Teaching Awards, and this year the Senior Staff Award has gone to Dr Celia Devenish.

Dr Devendish, of the Department of Women's and Children's Health, also won the award last year.

She has worked for the Southern District Health Board as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and since 2002 she has been a clinical senior lecturer.

Dr Gerry Wilkins, Heart Specialist, of the Department of medicine recieved a Commendation for the Senior Staff Teaching Award.

The Teaching Awards are based on survey results from Year 4 and Year 5 medical students.

Other winners this year include: Clement Tan, Certificate for the Trainee Intern who has shown commitment and aptitude for teaching; Michael Knight, Commendation to Trainee Intern; Keith Lee, Justus Pienaar and Reshma Shettigar, Certificate to House Officer who has shown commitment and Quality in Teaching; Peter McLeod and Jeremy Yap, Commendation to House Officer; Sarah Gleeson, Certificate to Registrar who has shown commitment and Quality in Teaching; Mohammad Amer, Sudish Lal, Heath Lash and Delia Smith, Commendation to Registrar; Dr V Sotutu, Dean’s Commendation to Invercargill Teaching Staff; Oncology Nursing Team Ward 8C, Certificate to the Nursing Team who has provided the Best learning environment for medical students.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for the story and for the photo of Dr Celia Devenish.

Koha for the crib

If you ever attended lectures or tutorials in the Richardson Building (formerly known as the Hocken Building), you might be familiar with the Hone Tuwhare poem ‘Rain’ – which hangs from the walls as you enter the foyer of the building. 

It begins:

 “I can hear you making
small holes in the silence
rain” ….


Now, the Hone Tuwhare Trust is establishing a writers’ and artists’ residency at Kaka Point in South Otago, where Tuwhare lived. Tuwhare’s crib and what is to be a purpose-built residency and studio will be the first one to be established in the home of a Maori writer.

The project is being worked on by two fourth-year design students, who are applying what they’ve learned in class to preserve, promote and celebrate Tuwhare’s legacy.

The students, Rebecca Elmslie and Michael Moeahu, have designed, organised and run two participatory design workshops, so that stakeholders can contribute their own ideas. Rebecca and Michael have also researched national and international creative residencies.

The students say that the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a professional environment has been “hugely beneficial” and that feedback they’ve received from Trust members is encouraging.

“Hone Tuwhare is a significant figure in New Zealand's history and to be a part of ensuring his legacy remains in a residency for future generations is culturally significant,” says Rebecca. “To hear that our findings are contributing to the implementation of this residency is really exciting.”

“Being a key part of the process to identify, develop and recommend potential scenarios and outcomes has given us valuable experience and confidence,” says Michael. “We loved collaborating with Dr Waite and the other Hone Tuwhare Trust members and look forward to the residency’s potential.”

To raise funds for the new residency, the Trust is hosting Koha for the Crib at Toitu Otago Settlers’ Museum on Saturday 18 October from 7-11pm.

The fundraiser will include a charity art auction, and performances by musicians Don McGlashan, Rio Hemopo, Graham Downes, Martin Phillipps, David Kilgour, and Ciaran McMeekin, as well as poets Emma Neale, Majella Cullinane, Sue Wooton and Peter Olds.

Tickets are $60 (Email or get your tickets from UBS). The ticket price includes food from local sustainable sources and a complimentary drink.

Koha for the Crib

Toitū Otago Settlers’ Museum
Sat 18 Oct, 7-11pm

Friendly rivalry at the School of Business

Last week there was some ‘friendly rivalry’ at the Otago School of Business. The Academic Interdepartmental Shield Challenge involved a Three Minute Thesis-style competition for the School’s staff, across six departments.

From among the departments, the winner to emerge from the challenge was Professor John Knight from the Department of Marketing. His winning talk was on the topic of “Frankenfoods”, and how consumers perceive and purchase genetically modified products.

Postgraduate students from the School also entered a Three Minute Thesis challenge. The winner among the postgrads was also from the Department of Marketing – PhD student Fatima Mckague was victorious with her talk on “Energy Hardship in New Zealand”.

Event organiser Dr Kirsten Robertson says it was about creating a situation where postgraduates and staff were on an equal footing, and with the same challenge – describing their research in only 180 seconds.

“It was also wonderful seeing the diversity of research that is happening across our School. On the other hand, there were a number of similarities between research being conducted in different departments, so the conference has opened up opportunities for future collaborations.”

Professor Knight was pleased at winning the Challenge – which he admits was a demanding task.

“For my old synapses, learning exact words and sentences to fit 180 seconds while still pretending to be spontaneous was a huge challenge. My dog is heartily sick of hearing it (and probably so is my wife).”


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and for the photo of Professor Richard Blaikie presenting Professor John Knight with the Academic Interdepartmental Shield.

Students win! OUSA Foodbank Appeal

Yesterday was the third annual staff versus students OUSA Foodbank Appeal, and it was Otago students that won the challenge!

Student donations to the appeal were almost double the donations by staff, with students donating over 178kg of food and staff donating around 100kg.

2012 was the first year that the challenge ran, to bring in donations for Dunedin's food banks. That year, students won, and the staff won in 2013.

“We’re stoked to have taken out the title for the second time,” says OUSA President Ruby Sycamore-Smith. “It puts us ahead of the University staff which is a big win!”

It was an even bigger win for Dunedin's food banks, with more donations this year than ever before.

“It really was a CAN do kind of day," says Ruby, "and we’re proud to be a part of a University community helping out the place we call home.”

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and for the photo of OUSA Executive Campaigns Officer Hamish Barker (left) and Student Support Manager Matt Tucker receiving donations in the annual staff versus students Food Bank Appeal yesterday.

Leith revamp nearly complete

The flood protection work on the Leith is well on the way to completion, with only around four weeks to go until 15 October - when the Otago Regional Council estimate the project will be finished.

It is progressing well, with with the main precast steps installed, bluestone facings being laid, and period railings now fixed to the Registry lawn.

The St David Street Bridge will be reopened to pedestrians this week, on Thursday 18 September, with its new extension. The temporary bridge will then be removed this weekend.

Property Services Project Manager Christian German says,“We would [...] like to acknowledge the professional approach that has been taken by all those concerned with delivering the works and the evident quality being achieved on site.”

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo of Steve Roberts and Ayden Lloyd of Valley Crates Engineering installing a fence along the Leith, taken by Sharron Bennett.

Allen Hall 100th celebrations this weekend

The Allen Hall 100th anniversary reunion is this weekend, and alumni including directors, actors, and comedians will all be in Dunedin to celebrate.

The programme for the weekend will include “pop up” plays, a red carpet Party of Light, an open mic extravaganza and a book launch.

Head of Theatre Studies Hilary Halba says of Allen Hall alumni, “There are so many people who have taken the skills they learned here and run with them.”

“But before theatre was taught here as an academic programme the building was a cultural centre for the University – and the reunion will also celebrate that.”

When Allen Hall first opened in 1914, Otago University had just over 600 students in total, and the building served as the University Union building. The current University Union building opened in 1960, and Allen Hall became a theatre.

Theatre Studies wasn’t a major subject at that time, and Allen Hall was used primarily by the Otago University Drama Society (OUDS).

Around 1971, Allen Hall became known as the “home” of Drama - used by the OUDS, Drama students, Music students and the French, German and Classics Departments.

Associate Professor Lisa Warrington says, “Much of my own professional working life is tied up in Allen Hall, and I have seen so many students pass through its doors, some of whom have become lifelong friends. Having the chance to see a number of them gathering here for the reunion/centenary celebration weekend is a pleasure and privilege.”

Among the other varied events, the weekend’s red carpet Party of Light event will include cocktails and finger food, a photo booth, speeches from the Vice-Chancellor and other dignitaries and guests, and an illuminated procession to Refuel for a very rare, one-off performance by the original Verlaines.

“It will be a reunion like no other,” says Ms Halba. “Every department has its history but because of the nature of the department that has been housed here I think we will have a particularly original and enjoyable reunion.”


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo of Allen Hall.

The Japanese Programme’s Hanami Cherry Blossom Viewing Party

Spring is here, and there are some beautiful cherry blossoms coming into season in front of the University Clock Tower - and all over campus.

The Japanese programme invite you to join them to celebrate the arrival of spring and enjoy the beauty of “sakura” together.

There will be sushi and drinks, Karate Kata, Taiko drumming and Koto harp performances.

All welcome, including alumni! You are also welcome to bring along extra food to share.

Time and date: Tuesday 16 September, 4.00-5.00pm

Venue: In front of the Clock Tower

In the event of rain, the event will be held on Thursday 18 September at 4.00pm.

If you have a Japanese dress in silk or cotton, Kimono or Yukata, or even cartoon-character costumes, the organisers invite you to dress up for this special occasion.

If you have any questions about the Hanami Cherry Blossom Viewing Party, please contact organiser Haruko Stuart on 479 8383 or


And we'd love to hear from you afterwards! Please join us on Facebook and let us know how you enjoyed the celebrations.


Celebrating Botany (1924-2014)

An exhibition entitled Botany. Our Heritage, Our Future starts at the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, on Thursday 11 September, and runs through to 5 December 2014.

It is mounted to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the formation of the Botany Department at the University of Otago, which remains the only university Department of Botany in New Zealand.

The Department is very proud of its heritage and in looking ahead considers Botany to be essential to society’s needs more than ever. Indeed, knowledge about plants is fundamental to our survival.

Although botany was taught at the University of Otago from the outset, it was in 1924 that the Botany Department was established, with the appointment of Dr J. E. Holloway.

After his retirement in 1944, a number of dedicated staff kept the department functioning until 1946 when Geoff Baylis arrived as Head of the Department (HoD). He became the first Professor of Botany in 1952.

Baylis was replaced by Professor Peter Bannister in 1979, who was HoD until 2003, when Associate Professor Paul Guy took over. Professor Bastow Wilson replaced Guy as HoD in 2008. Professor Jim Simpson became HoD in 2010, and Professor Katharine Dickinson in 2011.

Since 1924, students have been exposed to all aspects of the life of plants, algae, fungi, and other closely related organisms. Today’s student engages in a subject that is now multidisciplinary, covering the gene to the ecosystem, and from the mountains to the sea.

Of course the Department’s achievements are due to all staff: the technicians, the administrators, current academics, Emeritus and Honorary Professors, and other research associates.

Each have contributed greatly to the excellence in teaching and research that has been afforded to students, and more broadly to the general public, over many years. 

Notable items on display include a copy of Daniel Solander’s Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae [1770], one of the first European documentations of flora in New Zealand, Captain Cook’s A Voyage towards the South Pole (1777), Mrs Featon’s colourful New Zealand Flora album (1889), a sample sheet of flax paper made in Dunedin in 1866, a pōhā with tītī (muttonbird) inside blades of kelp (2009), a colourful edition of T. Kirk’s The Forest Flora of New Zealand (1889), and plant specimens from the University’s Regional Herbarium, including Pennantia baylisiana (1965), Hypopterygium setigerum [Mosses], and Celmisia markii.

Also on display will be some colourful Botany teaching posters, numerous 19th century Brendel Plant Models, and a number of Banks Florilegium (1769; 1980-1989) prints on loan from the Hocken Library.
Exhibition dates: 11 September to 5 December 2014.
Venue: Special Collections, de Beer Gallery, 1st Floor, Central Library, University of Otago
Hours: 8.30 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday

Are you a Botany alumna or alumna? We'd love to hear your memories. And please let us know if you attend the exhibition!  Email us, or join us on Facebook.

Dirty Politics symposium still available to view

The Departments of Media, Politics and Law came together on Friday 5 September for a multi-departmental live stream debate, on the issues relating to Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics.

And the stream is still available to view on YouTube.

Andrew Geddis MC'd the proceedings, and Dr Bryce Edwards from the Department of Politics began by interviewing Nicky Hager about issues of transparency and non-transparency.

The cohort from Media, Film and Communication (including Dr Brett Nicholls, Dr Rosemary Overell, and Dr Holly Randell-Moon) discussed how the media has affected election issues, and the issues around the Dirty Politics book.

They also discussed the shift between old forms of media and the new and more contemporary social media forms, and how this also shapes discussion of politics.

They also addressed issues of scandal and the news media, and 'impression management'.

Dr Bryce Edwards discussed how the idea of political corruption is represented in the media, and how it has increased over time. Professor Richard Jackson was also on the Politics panel.

The last part of the symposium focused on the Law panel, with Professor Paul Roth and Professor Ursula Cheer, before handing back to Nicky Hager for closing remarks.

The stream is still available to watch here.

The debate has, at this stage, now received over 2,500 views.

Dirty Politics: Multi-departmental live stream debate this Friday

Dirty Politics debate: LIVE STREAM Friday 5 September. Don't miss this multi-departmental event!

Otago experts from the Departments of Media, Politics, and Law are coming together this Friday to discuss the impact of Nicky Hager's 'Dirty Politics' book, and the questions that it raises about how politics, political communication, and their legal regulation take place in New Zealand.

Speakers include: Dr Brett Nicholls, Dr Rosemary Overell, Dr Holly Randell-Moon, Dr John Farnsworth, and Dr Bryce Edwards. Author Nicky Hager will also be part of the debate.

You can watch via the University of Otago YouTube live-stream: Friday 5 September, 1-4pm.

To take part in the Twitter discussion during the live-stream, follow @HagerDebate and use the hashtag #HagerDebate

For a timetable of the afternoon, visit

Te Roopu Whai Pūtake turns 21

Te Roopu Whai Pūtake, Otago’s Māori Law Students’ Association, turned 21 last weekend.

 The association was created to support and help Māori Law students and give them a presence and voice in the Faculty of Law - and its 21st was an opportunity to get together and celebrate the Association’s milestones.

Among these milestones are: the annual Te Wiki o Te Ture Māori (Māori Issues in Law Week), which has brought many high profile Māori lawyers to the University to inspire its students; the national Māori law hui (Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa/New Zealand Māori Lawyers Association); and support for Māori graduation, when each graduant is presented with a pounamu taonga.

Associate Professor Jacinta Ruru, says that the Association “started off with a few committed Māori Law students and has grown from strength to strength to become one of the strongest Māori student roopu on campus. The roopu is a committed group of students that has a really strong identity - with its own waiata and Te Roopu Whai Pūtake branded clothing.”

Graduates of Te Roopu Whai Pūtake include the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court and Chairperson of the Waitangi Tribunal Wilson Isaac, Māori Land Court Judge Sarah Reeves, lawyer Donna Hall, Rhodes Scholar Glen Goldsmith, leading International Indigenous law expert Claire Charters, and Fulbright scholar Natalie Coates.

Associate Professor Ruru (herself an Otago Law graduate) says that the 21st celebration is the first reunion of Otago Māori Law Alumni. 

“In some ways it is an opportunity to inspire our current students about the different careers you can do with a Law degree … We have lawyers working with iwi, those practising in New Zealand and overseas and some as judges, policy analysts, business owners, academics and more.”

Activities included formal and informal discussions, presentations by alumni and current students, and a hangi. The Patuawa-Tuilave Māori Leadership in Law Scholarship was launched, in partnership with Ngati Whatua.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and photos of Members of Te Roopu Whai Pūtake at a Māori pre-graduation function in May (from left) Rachael Jones, Lauren Aspin, Renata Davis, Briar Ensor and Susannah Bull.


Were you part of the Otago Māori Law Students’ Association? We’d love to hear your memories – email us at or join us on Facebook.

Professor Emerita Jean Fleming - still communicating science

Professor Emerita Jean Fleming retired from her role in Science Communication at Otago in February, but she is still as passionate as ever about communicating science, and collaborating with current students.

Since retiring, she has been helping MSciComm students to turn their course research into research for publication, submitting four papers this year. This helps the students in their academic careers, and at the same time boosts the research output of the Centre for Science Communication.

“As a reproductive biologist, I still have a review paper that I want to write about the origins of Ovarian cancer. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – it’s there, but I need to find the right time to do it. It’ll come.”

"Science Communication was a breath of fresh air for me,” Jean says. “I enjoyed the students and pushing my own boundaries, as it was so different."

“It made me think – “How do I teach this stuff?” So I drew on expertise within the wider University community, learnt interview technique skills, and how to do surveys – and it opened my eyes to a completely different world."

"I caused a stir when I said I’d love to see GM insect-resistant vegetables in my own garden, that you could grow and eat spray free."

“The theory of science communication has come a long way in recent years; and now I think people recognise for the first time that it is so important – so that people can understand climate change; understand genetically modified organisms. How are we going to understand these things without good science communication?”

Post-retirement, Jean is still a science communicator. She is a regular guest on Brian Crump’s National Radio show on Thursday nights from 8.40pm till 9pm, just before the science programme Our Changing World. Even after six years with the show, however, she admits that she still gets nervous beforehand.

“I’ve learnt not to try talking about anything I don’t know about, because you’ve got to get it right. Currently, I’ve been talking about cancer – I want to give people an idea of what sorts of treatments are on the horizon. Next year I’m planning a return to talking about the less known body parts….I’m finding I have quite a following out there.”

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo of Jean Fleming with one of her graduating students, Adam May, taken by Sharon Bennett.

Are you an alumna or alumnus of Science Communication? We’d love to hear some of your memories – email us at or join us on Facebook!

Otago’s Printer in Residence producing Michael Morley’s XXXXXwords

Peter Vangioni is this year’s Printer in Residence at Otago’s Otakau Press Room.

Using the Columbian ‘Eagle’ Press, this month Peter has been immortalising the words and lyrics of Port Chalmers artist and musician Michael Morley, well-known for his bands The Dead C and Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos.

Peter is hand-printing a book, XXXXXwords, that spans Morley’s career from the 1980s to 2014 – and there will also be a limited, signed edition print from one of the blocks. The lyrics will be illustrated by five of Morley’s own linocuts.

Peter, who is owner-operator of Christchurch’s Kowhai Press and a curator at Christchurch Art Gallery, says “I have long been a fan of Michael's art practice especially his work as a sound artist and I think the quality of his lyrics warrant being published in book form so I pitched the idea to Donald Kerr, who was keen.”

“I guess one thing that I really appreciate is having the opportunity to collaborate on a project with one of Dunedin’s most interesting artists, as well as to be able to commit to printing a book full-time for a month, to be able to focus on the project rather than work away at nights during my spare time which is the usually the case in Christchurch.”


To buy a copy of XXXXXwords:

The limited edition of 100 copies will be bound by the University bindery - $140

A signed edition print (26 copies) will also be produced from one of the original linoblocks - $150

To purchase, contact:
Special Collections Librarian Dr Donald Kerr, Email:


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo of Peter Vangioni in the Otakau Press Room by Sharron Bennett.


International Languages Week on campus

This week is International Languages Week at Otago.

On Thursday, there will be a group photo outside the Clocktower – staff and students are invited to dress in their national costumes and colours, so if you are an alumna or alumnus who is still on campus as either staff or student, then please come along and join in.

There will be many other events on this week as well, including Radio One shows on a variety of cultures, and The Cultures Quiz on Wednesday evening.

Organiser Pat Duffy of the French Programme (within the Department of Languages and Cultures) says, “We hope a week like this encourages people to be aware of the rest of the world. The world is in turmoil right now and much of it could be resolved simply by talking to each other. No one takes the time to just communicate and it is crucial to achieving a sort of peace.”

“We need to say ‘look here are all these cultures enriching our land’,” Dr Duffy says. “New Zealand must see beyond its borders and embrace other cultures. We may be an island but we cannot ignore the rest of the world.”


Here’s what’s on offer this week:

Radio Shows
Tune in to RADIO ONE every day from 12pm to 1pm to listen to music, stories, and life experiences from different cultures:
Mon - German
Tue - Japanese
Wed - Chinese
Thu - French
Fri -Spanish

The Cultures Quiz
Wed 20 Aug, 5pm
Evison Lounge, OUSA Recreational Centre
Form a team and register at:

Dress in the costume/colours of your culture

Thu 21 Aug, 1pm
Come to the lawn in front of the Clocktower for the group photo


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the image.

Please join us on Facebook and post your photos, thoughts and memories!

Travelling Scholarship news: Pat Farry Heath Education Trust

From the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust:


For the third successive year, the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust is offering an undergraduate scholarship to fund up to two sixth year medical students’ trainee intern elective in innovative and challenging overseas situations.

“Since 2011, 15 medical students have benefitted from the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s scholarship programme. The latest scholarships will bring the total amount awarded by the Trust in scholarships and grants since 2011 to more than $50,000,” said Mr John Farry, Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Chairman.

The annual Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship awards up to $10,000.00, which may be divided between two recipients, to students of the University of Otago Faculty of Medicine to travel internationally to a rural situation to observe new concepts, develop their own skills and share their learning when they return.

“Just as Dr Pat Farry did in his career, the Trustees expectation is that scholarship recipients will return and their experiences will contribute to them becoming the next generation of rural health leaders here in New Zealand,” said Mr Farry.

General Practitioner Dr Pat Farry was a tireless advocate and champion of rural health before he passed away in 2009. He devoted much of his career to advocating and lobbying for improvements and funding for rural medicine as well as mentoring and teaching rural medicine. When he passed away money was donated to in some way, continue his work.

As a result the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust was established in March 2010 to support the sustainability and quality of health services to rural communities. One of the ways in which the Trust does this is by providing scholarships to undergraduate medical students for elective study in innovative and challenging overseas situations.

While the Trust is based in Dr Farry’s hometown of Queenstown and has links to the University of Otago Faculty of Medicine where he taught, the recipients have come from all over New Zealand.

“The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust’s vision is for our work and the experiences that these medical students gain to ultimately contribute to the quality of rural health services in all regions of New Zealand,” said Mr Farry.

Four of the 15 recipients to date have been awarded the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship and the other 11 recipients have benefitted from grants that fund the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Monash/Western Australia Exchange.

Earlier this year, 2013/2014 Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship recipient Mr David Neynens travelled to India and Gibraltar.

“My elective helped me further appreciate the difficulties of providing healthcare in isolated settings. It was really interesting to see how local needs were met with the resources available and altogether it again affirmed my desire to do rural medicine,” said Mr Neynens who is completing his University of Otago Faculty of Medicine 6th Year studies based at Kew Hospital in Invercargill.

Fellow 2013/2014 Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Travelling Scholarship recipient Miss Rebecca Craw travelled to The Falkland Islands and Nepal. Ms Craw is completing her University of Otago Faculty of Medicine 6th Year studies in Christchurch and Timaru.

"Travelling to some of the most remote places on earth fuelled my passion for rural medicine. It allowed me to grow as a doctor and gave me an appreciation of the issues that millions of people in third world countries face. I hope one day I can give back to the communities who embraced me like family,” said Miss Craw.

In July, University of Otago Faculty of Medicine 5th year students Natalie Ron, Meaghan Kelly, Clare Ogilvy and Gracie Souter travelled to Gippsland and Kalgoorlie in Australia for the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Monash/Western Australia Exchange.

“Overall the experience was a fantastic opportunity to observe other medical systems, practice clinical medicine overseas, make new friends and explore an area of the world I never knew existed,” said Miss Gracie Souter, a 2014 Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Monash/Western Australia Exchange participant.

All of the Trust’s 15 scholarship and grant recipients to date are or will be graduates of the Rural Medical Immersion Programme established by Dr Farry in 2007. Annually the teaching programme sees up to 20 University of Otago Faculty of Medicine fifth year medical students considering a rural based medical career chosen to be immersed for the academic year in Dannevirke, Blenheim, Greymouth, Queenstown, Balclutha and Masterton. Students learn, under the guidance and mentoring of experienced general practitioners, rural hospital generalists and tertiary hospital specialists.

Academic results from the RMIP confirm its success as a teaching programme says Dr Branko Sijinja, Trustee of the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust and Course Director, Rural Medical Immersion Programme.

“In 2013 an RMIP student achieved second place among all 5th year students and 25 per cent of the students passed with distinction,” said Dr Sijnja, adding that “above all, the sense of enjoyment of the rural programme has been a sentinel time in their undergraduate study.”

In 2012, 76 RMIP alumni were surveyed as to their experiences and their future intentions for working in a rural environment. Eighty five per cent intended to return to rural communities after completing training and that this outcome had been positively influenced by their experience in the RMIP.

“This internal survey supports Dr Pat Farry’s original thinking that doctors who are trained rurally are more likely to return to rural settings. While he may not be here to see the results of his work, the Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust will continue to work to see his vision realised,” said Dr Branko Sijnja.

For further information:

The Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust is a registered charitable trust and donations are tax deductible. Donating to support the Trust's work is simple. We accept donations via online banking, cheque, direct debit authority or credit card (using Givealittle by the Telecom Foundation). Visit




DOG at The Basement in Auckland

Otago alumnus Ben Hutchison is about to premiere his stage production, Dog – starring Shavaughn Ruakere and directed by Jeff Szusterman. For those of you in Auckland, or beyond, Dog is on at The Basement, Lower Greys Avenue in the Auckland CBD. Ben’s company Wolfgang Creative are also offering a special ticket giveaway for Otago alumni!

The story of Dog goes a bit like this: War veteran Neville is intent on paying a tribute to his dog that would be befitting of any of his good mates. Unfortunately, he can't get his hands on a cannon to initiate a 21-gun salute. So instead, he is doing the next best thing, by playing the decaying corpse its favourite song 21 times before he puts him in the ground. But it's taking ages, and Nev's boarder Olivia and her rejected admirer Warwick find themselves walking an emotional tightrope to sensitively fast-track getting the dog buried.

Touching upon themes of death, aging and loneliness, this bittersweet and endearing account of one man’s love for his best friend promises to tackle its material in an original and charmingly comic way.

It would be a dog-gone shame to miss it.

Dog plays at The Basement from 19 – 30 August 2014.

Tickets are available at: 

Dog is a Creative New Zealand and Auckland Council supported production.


To be in to win a double pass to see the show on Wednesday 20 August, post a picture of your pet on Wolfgang Creative’s Facebook page with the hashtags #Otagoalumni and #doggietheatre. If you are the winner, Wolfgang Creative will be in touch.

And please join us on our Facebook to let us know how you enjoyed the show!

Dunedin Scarfie Flat of the Month - August Nominees

If you follow our Facebook page, you'll know that each month (and in collaboration with the Dunedin Flat Names Project) we run a 'Named Scarfie Flat of the Month' competition. This month's nominees have now been announced!

The nominees are...

Neverland on Hyde Street

Peewee's Playhouse on Clyde Street

The Orphanage on Forth Street

To vote for August flat of the month, simply visit our Facebook and 'Like' or comment on the named scarfie flat of your choice. Don't forget to tag anyone you know who lived in these flats!

And of course, we'd love to hear your stories. Email us at or send us a message on Facebook!

Sound and Light: A Mozart Fellow Showcase, on this week!

Sound and Light: A Mozart Fellow Showcase is on this week at Allen Hall Theatre. Otago’s 2014 Mozart Fellow, Jeremy Mayall, is presenting his multimedia performances on Thursday and Friday, and it promises to be an all-encompassing, musical and cross-disciplinary experience.

“This concert will be unlike any other event in the Lunchtime Theatre series,” says Jeremy.

Mayall’s work explores unexpected instrumental combinations, pre-recorded sounds and live performance.

“There is a real focus on collaboration in my recent work, utilising the talents and skills of numerous friends (lighting designers, film makers, musicians, dancers, etc.) to create the unique body of work for this performance.”

Mayall’s new album Imaginary Communication is being released to coincide with the event. An album of pieces of piano and electronics, it will be available as a digital download (on a pay as you like basis), with proceeds going to Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Trust. 

There will be an informal Q&A session with Jeremy Mayall afterwards.

Sound and Light: A Mozart Fellow Showcase is proudly presented by: Lunchtime Theatre at Allen Hall and Jeremy Mayall.

For more information visit:

The details:
Sound and Light: A Mozart Fellow Showcase
Written and Directed by Jeremy Mayall
Thu 7 Aug, 1pm and 7.30pm/Fri 8 Aug at 1pm
Allen Hall Theatre
$5 Waged/$3 Unwaged

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook afterwards to let us know how you enjoyed it!


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and photo of Jeremy Mayall.

Success for Otago women's rowing team

University of Otago rowers are succeeding exceptionally on the international stage, with our senior women’s rowing eight winning two out of three International Universities regattas in China.

Otago won the 2km race in Xinjin City on Sunday, beating Paris 2 University from France by nine seconds. Tourin University from Italy came third, Yale was fourth and Xi’an Jiaotong University was fifth.

"The training that the team had done in the University's Environmental Chamber the week before departing for China certainly paid off. "

In middle of this week Otago won the second regatta in Wuhan City.

Otago University Rowing CEO Glen Sinclair says with the temperature in the 40s, “The training that the team had done in the University's Environmental Chamber the week before departing for China certainly paid off, and the use of ice vests before racing kept the crew cool and calm.”

The Otago women’s crew hasn’t ost a race in China for the past two years. Earlier this year, the team won the New Zealand Universities Rowing Championships Eights race over 3.2km by 30 seconds.

The team will travel to Linfen tomorrow for the final regatta.

“We hope Air New Zealand will be lenient with excess baggage as the trophies are slightly on the larger size!” says Mr Sinclair.


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and photo of the Otago Women’s Rowing Team with its latest trophy in China.


Dunedin music in the UK news

The Chills tour of the UK and Europe has begun, we've given away free entry to some lucky Otago alumni, and Otago alumni Chills fan meet-ups are in the wind.

Dunedin music has always fared well in the UK, with many of our acclaimed musicians being Otago alumni, and Dr Graeme Downes has just alerted us to this article in the NME.

For a city of only 120,000 people, the international recognition for Dunedin music is huge.

Also, have a look at this lovingly put together, UK-made 'zine about Dunedin bands!

We'll keep you updated on upcoming events from our wonderful Dunedin bands and their international successes.

We'd love to hear from you if you attend any of the international Chills shows, or the US tour by The Clean or David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights. And of course, we'd always love to hear your memories of Dunedin music during your time at Otago.

And, don't forget to join us Facebook for updates, video links and more!

Chills competition update and alumni Chills meet-ups

The winners of the Otago Alumni Chills Tour competition have been selected, and the winners have been contacted. Congratulations to those who won complimentary entry to The Chills in the UK and Europe!

If you didn't win, the good news is that there's still time to purchase tickets to any of the shows (be quick for London though, as it is close to selling out). And since we launched the competition, there have been suggestions for groups of Otago alumni to meet up before or after The Chills concerts. We think this is a fabulous idea!

As we are unable to release alumni contact details, we've instead set up a Facebook event for each tour location.

So if you're keen to meet up with other Otago alumni Chills fans who are attending the show, you can connect with each other on these pages. Please feel free to chat among yourselves and decide upon a meet-up time and place.

Even if you don't use Facebook, you can still view the events - and if you don't want to become a Facebook user but do want to attend one of the meet-ups, please email us and we'll do what we can to put you in touch with other attendees.

The Otago Alumni Chills Tour Meet-Up event pages are here:


And of course, we would love to hear from you afterwards! Stories and photos from the evening can be posted on the Facebook event pages, messaged to us on our Facebook, or emailed to

Are you excited? We are! 

Update on the Leith reconstruction!

The Leith is shaping up! Work is still continuing on the ORC Leith flood protection scheme, and many major elements of it are now complete. Due to be completed in September, the Leith has had around 5000m3 of soil and boulders excavated, and the new terracing has been formed.

The true right bank wall has been removed, there is a temporary bridge placed to the North of the St David Street bridge, pre-cast steps to the centre of the terraced section have been positioned, the West end of the St David Street bridge has been excavated and an extension added, and precast sections have been installed to the riverbed.

In the upcoming weeks, new railings will be put on the true left bank, the rest of the precast walls and steps will be installed, bluestone facings will be applied, planted beds will be formed and tree specimens put in.

The temporary footbridge will be taken away once the St David Street bridge extension is complete, and all the paths and ramps will be finished.

Come on down to campus and have a look at how it’s progressing. And of course, we’ll let you know when the entire project is complete!


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo taken by Sharon Bennett.


Otago satellite office of the Confucius Institute launched

The Auckland Confucius Institute now has an Otago satellite office, and it was formally launched on Tuesday evening at St Margaret’s College.

The Chinese Ambassador His Excellency Wang Lutong attended the event along with around 100 guests including Dr David Clark, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and Dunedin City Councillors, Hon Judith Collins and Hon Michael Woodhouse, as well as representatives of the Confucius Institutes in Auckland and Canterbury, the DCC Economic Development Unit, Dunedin Airport, Otago Chamber of Commerce and the University of Otago.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, International, Professor Helen Nicholson says, “This relationship has developed over several years and builds on our shared links with Fudan University and Shanghai. The event also marks the development of an MOU that will see the University of Otago work with the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury to facilitate the promotion of Chinese language and culture in schools and the community of Dunedin.”


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and photo of a lion dance being performed at the launch of Otago's satellite office of the Auckland Confucius Institute.


The Chills UK and European tour: Special Announcement for Otago alumni!

Otago alumni, we have a special treat for you. We have a limited number of complimentaries to give away to The Chills UK and European tour! If you live in the UK or Europe and want to relive your scarfie memories of The Chills, you could win the 'Heavenly Pop prize' of free entry to any one of The Chills concerts. Exciting!

To enter the draw, visit our Facebook page and comment with your favourite memory of The Chills, and which UK/European show you would like to attend.

Leave your comment on our Chills competition Facebook post or message us - you can also email your entry to with the subject line 'Chills competition'.

The only condition of entry is that you are alumni of the University of Otago - and that you can get yourself to the show!

The tour dates to choose from are as follows:

Wed 23 July   Brudenell, Leeds club show
Thu 24 July    The Dome, London club show
Sat 26 July     Belgium Boomtown Festival show
Mon 28 July    Lido, Berlin club show
Tue 29 July    Paradiso, Amsterdam club show
Thu 31 July    Button Factory, Dublin club show
Fri 1 Aug        Electric Circus, Edinburgh club show
Sat 2 Aug       Glasgow2014 CG show

Competition closes Wednesday 16 July

Thank you THE CHILLS for your generosity! 

Two minute talks tonight

Tonight is the two minute talks by 20 young women scientists. The University of Otago is hosting this event as part of the New Zealand International Science Festival, at the Wall Street Mall.

Women scientists under the age of 40 will present their research in the form of a two minute talk.

Organiser Angela Clark says, “Our aim is to showcase talented and ambitious young women in science who are researching and working in our city. Although gender equality is up and coming in the world of science, we can’t just tick that box and forget about it.

“This is an opportunity to inspire the wider community about the exciting work young women are doing right here in Dunedin.”

The scientists will use just one picture and one prop to aid their presentation. This, says Clark, “makes the researcher really think about their work in a different way – questioning what the key elements are, what makes it interesting, and why they are doing it.”

Among the 20 speakers are undergraduate students, PhD candidates, postdoctoral researchers and lecturers.

“We have everything from biochemistry, chemistry, dentistry, forensic science, medicine, pathology, pharmacology, physics, and physiology to anthropology, geology, physical education, psychology, science communication, science education and surveying."

There will be keynote addresses from New Zealand women of science including Dame Elizabeth Hanan, Professor Jean Fleming and Councillor Gretchen Robinson. Dunedin
based Petersen-Bowcott trio will provide the music, and canapés, drinks and a cash-bar will be available during the evening.

The event is sponsored by Otago Branch of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women and YWCA Dunedin.


The details:
2 Minute Talks: Young Women in Science
Tue 8 Jul, 7pm to 9pm
Wall Street Mall, George St, Dunedin
All are welcome to attend


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.

OSMS photo competition winner!

The Otago School of Medical Sciences’ (OSMS) Photo Competition has a winner. ‘Busy, busy, busy’ by Sarah Baird of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is an image of a busy shopping mall in Berlin.

There were over 100 entries from OSMS staff and students. Organiser Susan Butt says, “The competition just gets harder and harder to judge each year. The diversity of the subjects and the calibre of the photos make the decision especially tough for our panel. In many ways, we wish we could give prizes to everyone.”

Entries from the competition are on display as part of the New Zealand International Science Festival. Go along to the Hope Gallery, Dunedin Railway Station and have a look!

OSMS Leave Boring Behind Photo Exhibition
10am to 4pm daily during the NZISF
Hope Gallery, Otago Art Society
Dunedin Railway Station
Free, no bookings required

You can also view the exhibition online


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Winning photo ‘Busy, busy, busy’ by Sarah Baird.


Prestigious award for Otago researchers

This year, the University’s Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award has gone to two early career researchers who have made important international contributions to their field.

Associate Professor Haxby Abbott  (Surgical Sciences) and Dr Peter Fineran (Microbiology & Immunology) are co-recipients of the Award and Medal. These awards recognise outstanding research performance of early-career staff at the University, and include a $5000 grant for scholarly development.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard Blaikie congratulated Abbott and Fineran, saying that they both richly deserved to be recognised.

"It is a real honour and a privilege to work in such a great environment that values research and researchers’ success."

“Their exceptional records in obtaining grant funding, publishing findings in leading international journals and translating their work into new scientific or clinical practices would be the envy of many researchers of much longer standing. Their remarkable achievements place them at the forefront of the considerable number of talented early-career researchers at this University.”

Haxby Abbott’s research is in the area of the management of musculoskeletal conditions, particularly osteoarthritis, and Peter Fineran’s research involves using molecular genetics and biochemistry to investigate how bacteria resist viruses and plasmids.

Associate Professor Abbott says of the award, “I’m hugely grateful to a number of wonderful mentors who have helped guide and nurture me and my research, and for many great opportunities I’ve been offered along the way, and of course for the work of many PhD students and clinicians to whom a lot of credit is due for significant parts in the research we've achieved.”

“It is a real honour and a privilege to work in such a great environment that values research and researchers’ success.”

Dr Fineran says, “For both of us our work is a collaborative effort and reflects the efforts of many students, post-docs and technicians. We have also been fortunate to enjoy some excellent collaborations with researchers both here at Otago, elsewhere in New Zealand as well as overseas.

“The Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the University have provided a great supportive research environment and receiving a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship has really helped increase my research capacity.”

Dr Fineran will use the Award to attend the Molecular Genetics of Bacteria and Phages meeting in the USA, where he will present his most recent work – which is on the acquisition of memory in bacterial ‘adaptive immune’ systems.

Both researchers will each give public lectures later this year, and it is at these lectures that they will be presented with the Medal.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and for the photo of Associate Professor Haxby Abbott and Dr Peter Fineran.

The Chills touring the UK and Europe

Alumni in the UK and Europe! Celebrated "Dunedin Sound" band The Chills are set to tour your part of the world this month.

For those of you who went to Otago in the 1980s, you may have been to some of The Chills' shows, and you will more than likely remember this song - 'I Love My Leather Jacket' went to #4 in the New Zealand charts in 1986, and to this day the band are famous for being one of the leading proponents of the "Dunedin Sound".

The band recently recorded a new album at Otago's Albany Street Studios - their first new album in 20 years - and to celebrate the tour, the band are releasing a new 7" single on 28 July, via Fire Records. It will feature a new song 'Molten Gold', and a re-working of the classic Chills song 'Pink Frost'. 

The current line-up of The Chills, along with original vocalist Martin Phillipps, includes two Otago alumni - Oli Wilson and Erica Scally.

Tour dates for the UK and Europe:
Tue 22 July  BBC6 Music Live to air Manchester
Wed 23 July Brudenell, Leeds club show
Thu 24 July  The Dome, London club show
Fri 25 July Derbyshire Indietracks Festival show
Sat 26 July Belgium Boomtown Festival show
Mon 28 July  Lido, Berlin club show
Tue 29 July Paradiso, Amsterdam club show
Thu 31 July Button Factory, Dublin club show
Fri 1 Aug Electric Circus, Edinburgh club show
Sat 2 Aug  Glasgow2014 CG show

You can listen to the new songs here:
'Molten Gold':
'Pink Frost 13':

We hope you will take the opportunity to see The Chills on tour and re-live some Otago music memories!

Stay tuned for much more from us on The Chills in the UK and Europe! And don't forget to join us on Facebook for up-to-date tour news and videos of The Chills.

Did you attend any gigs of The Chills during your student days? We'd love to hear from you!

The debate is on! Australs debating tournament at Otago this week

The University of Otago is hosting Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships (Australs) this week, for the first time since 1975. Campus is alive with debaters who are here for the event, which is the second largest university debating competition in the world.

Over 350 speakers and adjudicators from around the world are here to compete this week at the prestigious event.

Paul Hunt, the Publicity and Sponsorship Officer for the Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) says that hosting the tournament reflects Otago's growing international reputation in debating.

"Our strong international performances gave us credibility which enabled us to win hosting rights to a large-scale international tournament."

Funding from Gallaway Cook Allan Lawyers and support from the Vice-Chancellor has meant that Otago has been able to regularly send teams to the Australs and Worlds debating competitions. It was Otago's strong performances internationally that enabled the university to win the hosting rights to Australs this year.

Otago has seven teams and seven judges in the competition, and after several team members' success in other international tournaments, they are also expected to do well in this tournament.

There is a trophy for best overall speaker, and best speaker in the grand final.

The Open Grand Final is open to all, at the Regent Theatre on Sunday from 7pm-10pm.

Did you do debating during your time at Otago? We'd love to hear from you - join us on Facebook and share your memories.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story; photo of the OUDS Executive by Sharron Bennett. (From left to right: Patrick Dawson, John Brinsley-Pirie Alice Sowry, Paul Hunt, Hannah Drury, Alec Dawson and Kurt Purdon)

New Zealand Science Festival this weekend

The New Zealand Science Festival is coming up! The festival takes place between 5 and 13 July and it will include a range of exciting and interesting events.

Over the nine days, there will be workshops, street science and entertainment. Events are scheduled for both children and adults, with evening activities for those who can’t make it during the day.

One of the major events is Dr Bunhead (known to many from TV) performing his science stunts. Another science performer at the festival will be Dr Graham Walker, whose interactive shows include launching marshmallows from a vacuum cleaner.

Other special guests include James Piercy, who will educate festival-goers on the brain and his own recovery from brain injury, shark expert Ryan Johnson, and ‘Green Chemist’ Professor Terry Collins.

Festival Director Chris Green says, “With 120 events and over 90 percent free, there’s something for everyone including with free science shows in Wall Street Mall, Cafe Sci events and presentations by our international experts.”

As part of the festival, be sure to come along to the University of Otago Science Expo. With hands-on activities for all ages, the expo is free of charge and will be held in the St David Lecture Theatre Complex on Saturday 5 July (12 noon to 6pm) and Sunday 6 July (9am to 3pm).

There will be over 40 interactive exhibits at the expo, including a 3D-printed artificial hand and a large inflatable brain, and there will be two-minute talks in the Wall Street mall next Tuesday evening – along with keynote talks by prominent women in science including Otago’s Professor Jean Fleming.

Visit or the Festival Facebook page for more information and the full programme of events.

Don't forget to join us on our Facebook page and let us know how you enjoyed the festival and the interactive expo!


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo of Dr Bunhead. You can also read about the Science Expo in today’s Otago Daily Times.

Up for the challenge

After 25 years in the waiting, University Challenge is coming back to our TV screens.   

The new series is being filmed this week in Invercargill, and the Otago team - Naomi Woods, Matthew Ordish, Tim Foster, Dylan Gaffney and Fran Allen - is ready for it.

The teammates were selected after a preliminary quiz on campus, and it turns out that three of them are Archaeology students. Naomi is doing her PhD, and Dylan and Fran are undertaking their Masters. Tim is studying to be a doctor while also doing a Masters in Molecular Biology, and Matt is completing a Pharmacy degree (he also has a degree in Neuroscience).

During the original run of University Challenge (which ran from 1976 to 1989), Otago won the competition six times – more wins than any other University.

The results of this new series will remain top secret until it is broadcast nearer to the end of the year.


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo.


Do you remember the original University Challenge? Join us on Facebook and share your memories!

The Clean on tour in the US

Did you attend any gigs of Dunedin band The Clean during your scarfie days?

One of the bands under the banner of the "Dunedin Sound", The Clean are soon to tour the USA - so if you're in the States, look out for them - also, David Kilgour is playing in the US with his newer band David Kilgour and the Heavy 8's.

Look out for updates from us on this, and on UK/European shows by the Chills and news on the Verlaines as well.

For now, if you were a scarfie and/or around Dunedin in the early 1980s, here's a song you may remember.

Note also that founding member Hamish Kilgour is an Otago alumnus, having graduated with a BA in English and History.


We'd love to hear any student memories that you have of The Clean, or of the Dunedin Sound in general. Email us at or join us on Facebook - we'd love to hear from you.

International Science Festival competition


The International Science Festival is coming up, and we've got a limited number of tickets to give away to some lucky Otago alumni for each of the following events:

• Family passes (for up to five family members) to Dr Bunhead's Blast Off on Saturday July 12th
• The science of whisky on Tuesday July 8th
• The science of beer on Thursday July 10th
• Adult tickets to Terry Collins' Sustainability and Green Chemistry presentation on Tuesday July 8th
• Family tickets to Ryan Johnson's shark presentation on Thursday July 10th

To enter, email with the subject line "Science Fest" and tell us which event you would like tickets for. If you're one of the lucky winners, we'll email you by July 2nd and send you the tickets in the mail.

Visit for more info on the festival events!

Sight-singing app features on Radio New Zealand

"Sing like nobody's listening..."

If you are alumni of either Music or Computer Science - or both! - you may be interested in this. The two departments have got together to develop a new app for iPad that helps you learn how to sight-sing.

Judy Bellingham from the Department of Music and Geoff Wyvill from the Department of Computer Science have been working on an app featuring 228 exercises to help you learn to read music and to sight-sing correctly. It is being developed for iPads and other tablets, and it may also be used on mobile phones.

The app, called See, Read, Sing, uses your device's microphone to recognise the notes you sing. It then recognises whether those notes are correct or not. In other words, it gives you a chance to practice your singing in private, learn from any mistakes, and to know when you got it right.

The app was the winner of Otago Innovation’s inaugural APPSTAR competition. It should be completed by the end of this year, and will become available to the public.

Read the Radio New Zealand story about the app, and listen to the podcast by clicking here.


If you studied Music or Computer Science (or if you studied both), we'd love to hear from you. Share your memories on our Facebook page!


Te Motutapu-o-Tinirau dance performance

Tomorrow night, pop along to a dance performance created by Louise Potiki Bryant, this year's Caroline Plummer Community Dance Fellow.

The work is inspired by a form of pre-European Māori dance called Whakaahua Dance.

Says Ms Potiki Bryant, “It is a dance practice inspired by one of the central kaupapa (themes) of performances of the historic whare tapere (houses of storytelling, games, and music), in which a quality in the natural world emerges from deep within a dancer.”

The soundtrack to the piece includes music by Paddy Free, Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal and, a composition by this year’s Mozart Fellow Jeremy Mayall. It also features the voice and words of Rua McCallum.

The piece, Te Motutapu-o-Tinirau, is inspired by a Kai Tahu version of the story of Tinirau and Kae, which includes a whare tapere performance by a group of women.

The performance will be held at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum tomorrow night, as part of the Puaka Matariki Festival.

Ms Potiki Bryant says that the Fellowship has allowed her to work with her iwi and whanau in creating the dance project.

"It has reconnected me with my Marae, and it has been fabulous to be able to share what I have been learning from Charles. Actually, we have all learned from one another. Everyone brings something different to it.”

She has worked on the project at Ōtākaou Marae, and the performance features children and adults from there as well as other marae, and students and staff.

Louise Potiki Bryant is a well-known, award-winning choreographer of Ngai Tahu descent. She has choreographed works for the Black Grace Dance Company, Curve, and the Atamira Dance Company. She has an Otago degree in Māori Studies, and a degree from Auckland's Unitec in Performing and Screen Arts.

Of the Caroline Plummer Fellowship, she says, “My work this year has been stimulated by [Caroline Plummer's] ideas about dance being accessible to everyone no matter their age and ability. It has really opened my eyes to the healing properties of dance.”

Event details:

    Te Motutapu-o-Tinirau
    Sat 21 June, 8pm
    Toitū: Otago Settlers Museum
    Tickets $12, available from Toitū.

Please join us on Facebook afterwards to let us know how you enjoyed it!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and for the photo of Louise Potiki Bryant, and dancer rehearsing the piece at Ōtākou Marae.

Faculty of Law in the news this week

The University of Otago Faculty of Law is in the news this week. The Otago University Debating Society made news not just on the Alumni and Friends page, but also in today's Otago Daily Times for their high international ranking; the new TV advertisement about studying law at Otago was launched on TV1 and TV2; and the Te Roopu Whai Putake 21st Birthday Celebrations are coming up.

The Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) has been named one of the top university debating teams. they've made it to the World Championship 2015 team allocations, along with 10 other universities including Oxford, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge. The Otago Daily Times ran this story, including a great picture of the team behind a shelf of library books.

The latest University of Otago 'Your Place in the World' advertisement, currently screening on TV1 and TV2, promotes the study of Law. The advertisement features two Otago Law students (Latafale Auva’a and Jordan Grimmer) rock climbing at Long Beach, and raising the legal conundrum of whether you are within your right to take a life in order to save someone else. Professor Mark Henaghan is also shown at work teaching. The advertisement runs for 30 seconds, and you can view it here.

Finally, the 21st birthday of Te Roopu Whai Pūtake (the Maori Law Students’ Association) is coming up on 22 and 23 August, and all Otago Maori Law alumni are invited to attend. There will be events including waiata, photos, dinner, and a birthday cake. Registration is by 11 July. You can read more about the upcoming event at this page.

If you're an Otago Law alumni, we'd love to hear from you. Please join us on Facebook and share your memories!

The man in the 'Chaplain' t-shirt

Remember this man? During your time at Otago you may have seen Mike Wright walking around the campus - mostly likely wearing a t-shirt with the word 'Chaplain' written in large letters.

If you wondered about the reason for his t-shirt, it's because he's one of the Otago Tertiary Chaplains, providing pastoral care and spiritual support for students and staff.

The Otago Post ran a story on Mike today, profiling his postgraduate study - in addition to working as a chaplain for both the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic, he is in the midst of undertaking a Doctor of Education (EdD).

Having completed the coursework part of the degree, he is now in the research stage and is finding his combination of work and study to be very rewarding.

Do you remember Mike from around campus? Please join us on Facebook to share your memories!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for the photo of Mike Wright, taken by Alex Lovell-Smith.

Congratulations to Otago's debating society!

The Otago University Debating Society (OUDS) has been named one of the top university debating teams. 

OUDS is in the World Championship 2015 team allocations, along with 10 other universities including Oxford, Yale, Harvard and Cambridge.

In the last three champions, Otago defeated Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, London Union and Princeton, and reached the 2013 grand final.

Being in the top tier means that OUDS will be able to send two or even three teams to the Championships in 2015.

Paul Hunt, Publicity and Sponsorship Officer for the OUDS, says that the society's success is down to its strong executive team and committed speakers.

“Competition between the top debaters combined with exec's organisational strength provides the platform for the top performances at recent World Championships,” he says.

The OUDS will also host the 2014 AUSTRALS, which is the second largest international tournament, in June/July.

“OUDS cannot wait to showcase Otago University to students from Singapore, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan and Australia.”

OUDS is the oldest society at Otago, established in 1878. It is sponsored by Gallaway Cook Allan Lawyers, and supported by the Vice-Chancellor and the Faculty of Law.

“The support of the University and legal community ensures OUDS can represent Otago University on the international stage.”

Were you, or do you know anyone who was part of the OUDS? Join us on Facebook and share your memories!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and the photo of the University Debating Society Executive (from left, Kurt Purdon, Alice Sowry, Hannah Drury, Patrick Dawson, Alec Dawson, Paul Hunt and John Brinsley-Pirie).

Viva L'Italia exhibition now on... Forza Italia!

A word from Special Collections...

Italy – what dreams and romantic longings the name conjures up. Florence, Venice, Rome – landmarks of European history and civilization. The country of Caesar, Cicero, Horace, and Virgil: the land which gave birth to Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso. The list would be endless if it also encompassed ‘modern’ day celebrities such as Giuseppe Verdi, Enrico Fermi, Sofia Loren, Giorgio Armani, Dino Zoff (considered the best goalkeeper in the history of football), and the controversial Silvio Berlusconi.

Renowned for its architecture, its complex historical past, its literature, fashion, and cuisine, Italy is now sub-divided into 20 regions, where most speak Italian (a Florentine variety of Tuscan).

An exhibition entitled Viva l’Italia. A Regional Romp through Italy will start on 11 June 2014 at the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago. The exhibition is constructed around images of Italian cities from a 17th century copy of Pietro Bertelli’s Theatro delle Citta d’Italia (1629). By utilising these images, the viewer ‘romps’ through the various regions of the country cabinet by cabinet, from Piedmont in the north, to Puglia in the southeast, Sardinia in the west, and Sicily in the southwest. The Republic (formed in 1946) encompasses some 301,338 kilometres.

Although by necessity selective, the exhibition will display some wonderful books, primarily from the collections of Esmond de Beer and Charles Brasch, who both thoroughly enjoyed what Italy offered to the world. Notable items will include:

William Thomas’ The Historie of Italie (1549); Pietro Bertelli’s Theatro delle Citta d’Italia (1629); Thomas Martyn’s The Gentleman’s Guide in his Tour through Italy (1787);

Alexandre de Rogissart’s Les Delices de l’Italie (1706); Henry Kipping’s Antiquitatum Romanarum, Libri Quatuor [(1713); and Jean-Jacques Boissard’s Pars Romanae Urbis Topographiae & Antiquitatum (1597). Modern publications such as D. H. Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia (1921) and Samuel Butler’s Alps and Sanctuaries of Piedmont and the Canton Ticino (1923) also feature. Interspersed are Italian recipes, carnival characters, and works by Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

The exhibition will run to 5 September 2014

Venue: de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, 1st floor Central University Library

Hours: 8.30 to 5.00 Monday to Friday

For further enquiries, please contact Dr Donald Kerr, Special Collections, University of Otago.


Phone: (03)-479-8330

And don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards, to let us know how you enjoyed it.

Professor Tony Binns awarded African chieftancy

If you are a Geography alumnus or alumna, you may remember Professor Tony Binns. And you may be pleasantly surprised to hear that he has been given the honour of becoming an African Chief.

The Paramount Chief and Section Chiefs of Sandor Chiefdom in Kono District, Eastern Province, Sierra Leone, awarded Professor Binns the chieftancy, to recognise his work and involvement in the community over a 40 year period. He first visited in 1974, when he was a PhD student.

Talking to the Otago Bulletin about his newfound chieftancy, he says:

“Sandor Chiefdom is one of the poorest parts of Sierra Leone, which itself is one of the world's poorest countries. The country is currently going through a lengthy phase of reconstruction and development following a period of widespread destruction during the decade long civil war which ended in 2001.”

Of his plans for the near future, he says, “There is so much to be done. But my first priority is to help improve the facilities in the primary school and secondary school in Kayima, the chiefdom headquarters of Sandor. So many children want to go to school, but there is a shortage of classrooms, desks and chairs, and the schools do not have electricity.”

Professor Binns is giving a public lecture this evening on his personal journey and work in Africa, as well as the significance of his chieftancy: Becoming an African Chief: 40 years of research and community involvement in Sierra Leone, 7pm, Burns 1 Lecture Theatre.

Alumni are warmly welcomed. We would love to hear how you enjoyed the lecture, so please do join us on Facebook afterwards and let us know.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and the photo of Professor Binns with Otago’s Professor Etienne Nel and Dr Uzebba Kanu of the University of Sierra Leone, at a Court Barri (Meeting House) in Sierra Leone.

Director of Student Services retires

During our time as students, we’ve all had something to do with Student Services – the OUSA, the University Union, the Student ID office, doctors at Student Health, career advisors, gym experts, disability note takers, the University Chaplains, or the friendly faces of Campus Watch, to name more than a few possibilities.

Someone who you may not have met personally though, is David Richardson – the Director of Student Services, the Division that all of these services are a part of.

Since 1999, Mr Richardson has overseen around 1000 staff who work in these various parts of the University.

Retiring from his position last week after 14 years, he spoke to the Otago Bulletin about his time at Otago.

Before stepping into his role at Student Services, he had worked as a secondary school principal at Dunstan College for ten years. After seeing the position at Otago advertised in the Sunday paper, he decided to apply – and got the job.

“It was just what I was looking for. The University was sort of like a big super school.”

Says the Bulletin, during the time that Richardson has been in the role, “technology has advanced, social media have sprung up, and attitudes towards alcohol and food have shifted. The University has responded to these changes, and in many ways Student Services has lead this response.”

One of the things that began during Richardson’s Directorship is Campus Watch.

The Bulletin notes of Campus Watch that “five teams work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, walking the campus and its surrounds to create a safer environment for students. They provide advice, walks home, and ensure that student behaviour is kept to a reasonable level.”

“Otago has a unique environment,” says Richardson. “Eighty-five percent of our students come from out of town, and many live in close-proximity to each other and the University. Campus Watch is a common sense, practical response. We know of no other University that does it like this, but it has worked wonderfully here.”

He was also involved in the development of the new Unipol, and the setting up of the Student Volunteer Centre last year.

Mr Richardson says he has had a “wonderful innings” at Otago. “I’m not regretful about finishing. I am coming up 68, and I don’t know what is around the corner. There are lots of things I want to do, and I can’t guarantee I will continue to be fit and healthy.”

However, he notes that he will miss it.“I have had a great team of people around me, both those I report to and those I work with.”

What are your memories of Student Services over the years?  Share them with us on our Facebook!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo of David Richardson with key members of Student Services.

Toss the Boss report

The boss was tossed last week! Otago University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne abseiled 35 metres in the Forsyth Barr Stadium, to raise funds for the Malcam Charitable Trust.

This was the first time Professor Hayne had abseiled and she said it was a lot of fun - she was also pleased that she could do this in support of a worthy cause.

Money raised is going to the Trust's 12-week youth programmes which re-engaged young people back into work, training and the community.

And you can still donate! Visit

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for the story and photos.

Otago Alumni t-shirts handed out to graduates

Graduating students from last weekend were given University of Otago Alumni t-shirts when picking up their graduation tickets!

In previous years, alumni were given an Otago goodie bag - of this year's t-shirts, Development and Alumni Relations Events Co-ordinator Kaitlin Wolf says, "“We wanted to give [the graduands] something they would be able to keep and remember Otago with,” she says. “Our graduates will be able to wear them wherever they are in the world and feel connected to us and also help promote our wonderful university.”

Development and Alumni Relations Advancement Services Manager Louise Lawrence is in the photo above, handing out a t-shirt to a graduating student last Friday.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo by Sharron Bennett.

Anthonie Tonnon playing in LA Tuesday night!

Otago alumnus Anthonie Tonnon - known to many of you from Dunedin band Tono and the Finance Company - is playing a show in Los Angeles tomorrow night!

He performs at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood at 7pm - so if you are in LA, head on out to see Tono!


And please do join us on Facebook afterwards to let us know how you enjoyed it!

Toss the Boss! Support Professor Harlene Hayne and the Malcam Trust

Next week, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne is abseiling 35 metres from the Speights Stand in the Forsyth Barr Stadium - in support of youth charity the Malcam Charitable Trust. In the Trust's upcoming fundraiser 'Toss the Boss', several 'bosses' from Dunedin will be tossed over the edge!

Others to be 'tossed' are Mayor Dave Cull, Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive Phil Ker, and Dunedin South MP Clare Curran. Each boss is aiming to raise $1000.

Says Professor Hayne, “I have never abseiled before, but I have bungy jumped off the Kawarau Bridge and I have gone for a ride on the Nevis Swing."

“I hope that other members of the University community will get behind this initiative and give generously to the Malcam Trust.”

Money raised from this event will go towards the Trust’s 12-week youth development programmes - helping to re-engage young people into work, training and the community.

Otago University strongly supports the work of the Malcam Trust. Professor Hayne says, “As a University we provide supervised work experience for youth involved in the Altitude programme supported by the Malcam Trust that is hosted by the Polytech. This work experience often leads to productive, full-time employment for young people who were struggling to find their way.

“As a Vice-Chancellor, a psychologist, and a mother, I am well aware of the importance of youth development. Despite a number of outstanding things about New Zealand, we have some alarming statistics around the health and well-being of our adolescents and young adults. The good news is that we are a small country and the scope and scale of our problems is small relative to larger countries around the world. We should be able to make a difference in lives of our young people – saving our little corner of the world, one kid at a time.”

Fifteen young people from schools, training providers and other youth organisations will also take part, raising funds for specific causes.

The bosses will be tossed from 8am to 11am on Friday 23 May, with Professor Hayne being tossed between 8am and 9am.


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.

We'd love to hear from anyone who attends this event. Send us an email or join us Facebook!

Te Pā childcare facility formally opened

The new childcare facility on campus formally opened this week. The Otago University Childcare Association (OUCA) have opened “Te Pā”, which took 10 months to complete - offering improved amenities and places for many more children than the University's previous childcare centre.

“A frequent comment has been on the how light and airy our new buildings are in contrast with the previous Great King Street facility,” says OUCA Director Kay Lloyd-Jones.

Over 100 families are enrolled at Te Pā, and everyone including the centre's 33 staff shifted to the new centre last week, ahead of its formal opening.

“We are all – teachers, children and families – in awe of our new environments. Every aspect from the street frontage to the adult work spaces, staffroom, meandering walkway, outdoor play spaces and playrooms are a delight to inhabit,” says Ms Lloyd-Jones.

“The children are loving the water features, opportunities to ‘climb hills’, the warmth of the floors from underfloor heating and the sense of space both inside and outside. Parents have been amazed by all of this, and also the aesthetic, the sense of enclosure between the buildings which excludes traffic noise and the feeling of community coming from the arrangement of the buildings.”

Says Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne,“We have always had excellent childcare at the University of Otago. Since they opened, the quality of the care provided by our Centres has been second to none. The opening of the new world-class facilities on our campus now means that the infants and young children of our staff and students will benefit not only from the best possible care, but that care will take place in a truly inspiring new space.”

“I thank everyone who has worked over many years to make this project a reality. Their hard work and dedication are evident in every aspect of the new centre. I am also particularly pleased with the location of Te Pā directly on campus. This location means that each day, the tiniest members of our community will come into contact with their more senior peers. I am hopeful that from time to time they will look out windows of their beautiful buildings and get a glimpse of the opportunities that await them at University.”

The facades of the original Victorian villas were preserved from the old facility, to retain the historical character on Castle Street where the centre is housed.

“We are very appreciative of the care and attention by the University, especially project manager Christian German, and architects Parker and Warburton Team Architects, to our priorities around optimising children’s learning opportunities while ensuring their safety,” says Ms Lloyd-Jones.

The new facility has four centres: Te Pārekereke o Te Kī, which is a bilingual centre for up to 28 children aged 0-5 years; Te Maioha, which houses up to 16 children under two years of age; and Te Puna and Te Uru, which cater for two groups of 20 children, two to three and a half years, and three and a half to five years of age.

Spaces are available across all age groups.

Ms Lloyd Jones says that the next focus for the centre is to “fulfil the potential for excellence in early childhood education that this wonderful new facility offers us”.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Photo by Sharon Bennett.

Terence Dennis on tour with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa


Terence Dennis, both an alumnus of the University of Otago and currently Professor and Head of Classical Performance Studies at the University of Otago Department of Music, is on tour with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as piano accompanist.

If you are in Australia, there are dates this week in Canberra, Adelaide and Sydney, with New Zealand dates to follow in late May and early June (Dunedin Town Hall on 1 June).

Terence Dennis is a trustee of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa International Foundation, and was a staff member at the the Solti-Te Kanawa Accademia di Belcanto, Castiglione della Pescaia, Italy.

He has been a recital partner for many prestigious international artists, is a pianist in the University of Otago Trio, and is the official pianist for the New Zealand Mobil/Lexus Song Quest Finals and Winners Tours, as well as for seven international string competitions.

He is the Dunedin Chair of the NZ Wagner Society, as well as Chamber Music New Zealand.

Upcoming tour dates:

May 16: Canberra, Llewellyn Hall
May 18: Adelaide, Festival Theatre
May 20: Sydney, Opera House
May 24: Auckland, Aotea Centre
May 29: New Plymouth, TSB THeatre
June 1: Dunedin, Town Hall
June 3: Napier, Municipal Theatre
June 4: Masterclass, Napier, Century Theatre

August-26-29: Japan, recital with Dame Kiri at the Temples of Nara, near Osaka, filmed live for Japanese TV
August 23: Event/concert hosted by Helen Clark, with Kiri the Kanawa Foundation, Oamaru Opera House

We'd love to hear from anyone who attends these exciting tour events. Send us an email or join us on Facebook!

Dancing with twelve cellos

This weekend, join the Cellists of Otago for a Latin flavoured Matinée with a variety of Dances, Menuets, Waltzes, Tangos and more. Violinists and violists will join the cellists from Dunedin, including members of Southern Sinfonia and students from the University of Otago, under the direction of Executant Lecturer of Cello, Heleen du Plessis.

There will be works by composers including Händel, Borodin, Piazolla, Strauss, Kibbe, McLean and Stevenson. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students).

Please join us on Facebook afterwards to let us know how you enjoyed it!

Seeing stars in the ODT

In case you missed it, the Otago Daily Times ran a story on psychology alumnus Owen Jones, who graduated with his PhD last Saturday.

Owen’s PhD research was highlighted in the paper’s ‘On Campus’ section, as part of its graduation-related coverage. His thesis topic is on the fascinating area of the role of astrocytes, which are star-shaped cells within the brain, and their role in treating brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

He completed his PhD at the Otago Brain Health Research Centre, and he will be continuing his research as a postdoctoral fellow at Otago.

Well done Owen!

Click here to read the story in the online version of the Otago Daily Times.


Otago PhD’s are on a wide range of fascinating topics – if you graduated with a PhD, join us on Facebook and tell us about your research!

Fly back to Otago to do your PhD!

If you now live away from Dunedin and are thinking of coming back to Otago to begin a PhD, then there is some exciting news - Otago has launched a new campaign to recruit domestic PhD candidates, offering free flights to Dunedin.

For successful applicants, this is an opportunity to research your options at the University of Otago, along with the offer of a PhD scholarship worth $90,000 over three years.

Those who are selected will be flown to Dunedin on 4 August, attend the Postgraduate Open Day on 5 August and meet with prospective departments, and the next day, be taken on a tour of Dunedin before flying home.  

Head of Marketing Services Lindy Wilson says, “We know Otago has a lot to offer postgraduate students, but our distance can sometimes be seen as a barrier. This campaign will give us the opportunity to show potential students how great Otago is.”

You can find more information on this offer at . Applications close on June 27.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.


Dunedin 'named flat' of the month - vote now!

Sarah Gallagher's Dunedin Flat Names project holds many memories of student flats, and we want you to vote for your favourite!

Each month on Facebook, we're posting a selection of 'Dunedin flat' nominees that you may well remember from your student days. You may have even lived in one of them! The flat with the most 'likes' or comments wins the title of 'flat of the month'.

We've announced our first nominees today, so please visit our Facebook and vote (and share your memories)!


Photo of Brucie's Beenjamin' Butchery taken by Sarah Gallagher

Anzac Day 2014

Around 200 staff, students, alumni and military personnel from New Zealand and Australia attended the Anzac Day service on campus last Friday. Due to wet weather, the service was held indoors in the Main Common Room of the University Union.

University Chaplain Rev Greg Hughson noted that the service reflected a sense of togetherness.

“It was by no means a glorification of war but rather an opportunity to come together to pause, reflect, honour those who served, and celebrate peace."

The Anzac Day address was delivered by Colonel (retired) Roger McElwain - who is now CEO of the Foundation Year and Language Centre at Otago. The address focused on sacrifice and courage, and Colonel McElwain also talked of his service in

Dr Murat Genç of Economics and Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne shared the Turkish and English versions of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's tribute to the soldiers killed at Gallipoli.

Says Rev Hughson of the service, “It is my hope that all who attended came away even more highly motivated to value peace, work together for peace, and avoid war at all costs in the future.”

Later in the afternoon, there was a multi-faith gathering organised by students from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, on the Otago Museum Reserve.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the image.

Forbidden fruits, anyone?

Milton alumni, friends and fans are invited to join former students, staff and current students of English at Otago on Thursday, 15 May from 6.00 - 8.00pm, for a sociable evening at Allen Hall. The evening is arranged as part of the programme for this year’s celebrations marking the centenary of this venerable old landmark.

The highlight of the evening will be a performance, by a group of seasoned readers, of FORBIDDEN FRUIT, Book Nine of Paradise Lost, which gives Milton’s explanation of Human Life. While this event focuses on Book 9 of Paradise Lost only, the grand tradition of the Milton Marathons will be respected with audience participation a must!

The performance is being organised, like the Marathons, by Professor John Hale. Pizza, wine and fruit (forbidden or otherwise) will be provided. RSVP by Wednesday, 7 May to .

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Anzac Day event: 'Born of Conflict' documentary

Don't forget the Anzac Day service on campus tomorrow at 1.30.

And earlier in the day, there is a special TV screening of the Otago-made documentary, 'Born of Conflict – Children of the Pacific War', which came out of research being done by the History Department's Professor Judy Bennett and Dr Angela Wanhalla. It screens on Maori Television at 9am.

Please join us on Facebook afterwards to share your Anzac Day experiences with us.

Boots Riley @ the Music, Media and Politics symposium

Boots Riley, prominent American hip hop artist, spoke to an overflowing crowd in the Richardson Building's Moot Court last night.

As the keynote speaker at the Department of Media, Film and Communication’s 'Music, Media and Politics' symposium, Riley addressed the crowd on the topic of 'Hip Hop and the Class Struggle' - speaking on the history of radicalism in the United States since the 1960s, the Occupy movement, and workers' rights.

With Moot Court at its capacity of 100 people, a live stream was set up in several other rooms in the Richardson Building, for everyone else to see and hear the lecture.

Symposium organiser Dr Rosemary Overell estimates that 250-300 people attended the event. "We had no idea what to expect, but it was wonderful that so many people came out to see Boots speak."

"What was really fantastic though, was at the end he wanted to make sure he got to speak with the people who were in the overflow rooms. So he talked for another hour in the foyer of Richardson."

As part of his visit to Dunedin, Boots Riley is performing an acoustic show at Chicks Hotel tonight.

Please join us on Facebook afterwards to let us know how you enjoyed it!

Plagues and Pestilence quiz night

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology are holding a quiz night!

As part of the International Day of Immunology, the Department is holding this free event at Alhambra Union Rugby Football Clubrooms on 29 April.

Refreshments, catering, and prizes... and no scientific knowledge necessary. (In fact, by the end of the night, you will have learned some new facts about the body's immune system!)

Get a team together and reserve a table... bookings essential!

Click here for more details on the event... and please join us on Facebook to let us know how you enjoyed the evening!

Dunedin's most popular postie

If you were a scarfie in North Dunedin at any time in the last 30 years, you will very well remember the friendly, bicycle-riding postie Kerry Wheeler!

Kerry just reached his 30th anniversary as a postie, and New Zealand Post put on the celebrations. Residents of North Dunedin also joined in, lining the streets with balloons on 16 April - 30 years to the day since Kerry's first ever North Dunedin postie run.

TV3 also ran a story, celebrating Kerry's career thus far. Kerry, we salute you, and we will continue to enjoy seeing you deliver the mail!

Click here to watch the TV3 news story, and here to see the Otago Daily Times' feature (with photos!) on our favourite postman!

If you have memories of Kerry from your scarfie days, please share them - visit our Facebook or send us an email!

ANZAC Day service

ANZAC Day is coming up, and once again there will be a joint service organised by the University of Otago and the OUSA.

On 25 April, the service will be held on the lawn in front of the Clock Tower, from 1.30-2.30pm.

There will be a range of speakers, readings, and the Anzac Day address will be by Colonel Roger McElwain. After a procession, University and student representatives will lay wreaths on the Leith Bridge.There will be light refreshments afterwards at University College.

Please do come along to the service.

Boots Riley tonight!

The Otago campus is alive with the sound of Boots Riley... the Boots Riley posters that you may have seen around Dunedin are promoting tonight's open lecture by this prominent American rapper.

It's all about Boots around campus at the moment because he's delivering the keynote address at the Department of Media, Film and Communication's 'Music, Media and Politics' symposium, at 5.30pm in Moot Court.

The symposium features presentations from staff and postgraduates of Media, Film and Communication, Music, and Theatre Studies. Don't miss this event!

For those of you who aren't in Dunedin, or just can't make it, Olivier from Radio 1 will be live streaming the Boots lecture at the following web address (click the link to get to the live stream):

Please tune in! And don't forget to join us Facebook afterwards.


Introducing... Otago's Taonga Pūoro group

Otago’s Taonga Pūoro Group is a group of 15 or so staff and students who play and make traditional Māori musical instruments.  On Thursday lunchtimes, they gather on campus (in St David Street), and you are likely to hear them if you are wandering by!

Taonga pūoro means ‘singing treasures’, and in any week, the group may be playing music, learning a new technique, gathering materials, or making their own instruments.

Says Dr Jennifer Cattermole from the Department of Music, the instruments are “usually made from natural materials (e.g. wood, bone, shell), and there are several different kinds. Traditionally, they were used for a range of purposes, including entertainment, hunting, healing and communicating with the gods.”

Dr Cattermole formed the group in July last year.

“I've been fascinated by taonga pūoro ever since I attended a class given by Richard Nunns when I was an undergrad here at Otago (many years ago now). I loved the sounds and loved learning about the traditional uses and meanings of these taonga.

“I've been researching and teaching on aspects of Māori music since being employed by the Music Department, and asked my Department to purchase some taonga pūoro for use in teaching and community outreach.”

Brian Flintoff and Clem Mellish of company Jade and Bone made some instruments.

 “Once the instruments arrived, I set up the group with the aim of getting more people playing and making these incredible instruments.”

Members of the group don’t need to have had musical experience.

Dr Cattermole says that in the future, the group will be going on more fieldtrips to collect materials, collaborating with performance staff at Te Tumu, and there are plans for community outreach with local iwi and hapu, community workshops and public concerts.

“The group is really enthusiastic and friendly. Friends and whanau are also welcome – it’s not just for Uni staff and students.”

If you are interested in the Taonga Pūoro group, contact

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo of Jennifer Cattermole with the Taonga Pūoro group.


Rare Delights III: Online exhibition

If you couldn't make it to the Special Collections 'Rare Delights III' exhibition at Central Library, it's now gone online.Travel, architecture, the moderns, the French, gardening, pulp fiction, and science fiction... it's all here.

Click here to see the digital exhibition of these recent additions to Special Collections!



Hot pick podcast: Lullabies or Lady Gaga? How blood pressure variability affects your brain

If you've ever wanted to learn a little about blood pressure or what's involved in minimising brain injury after a stroke, then you will find this podcast interesting!

Yu-Chieh Tzeng gave this fascinating talk at Otago's OZONE presentations last year, for early career researchers, at the St David Lecture Theatre.

Click here to view the podcast! And don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards to let us know how you enjoyed it.


Make It New! New exhibition at Special Collections


An exhibition titled: Make It New! Modernism & the Medieval Presence began on Friday 21 March 2014 in the de Beer Gallery at Special Collections, 1st floor, Central University Library. Special Collections warmly welcomes alumni to come along.

The American poet Ezra Pound used the phrase ‘Make it New’, and this phrase became associated with the modernism movement and its ideas of renewal and rearrangement.

The exhibition at Special Collections features the work of modernist writers including James Joyce, T.S. Eliot and D.H. Lawrence. The medieval themes found in modernism are on display in works from authors such as Thomas Aquinas, and the precursors of modernism in the exhibition include authors such as Robert Browning.

There are several items of note on display for the public to come in and view.  

The exhibition has come about due to the Department of English’s Professor Chris Ackerley's research on modernism and the idea of the ‘unattended moment’, for which he received a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Fund grant.  Another product of Professor Ackerley’s research will be the April 2014 University of Otago conference, “‘Unattended Moments’: The Medieval Presence in the Modernist Aesthetic”.

The exhibition is on now at the de Beer Gallery in the University Library, until 23 May 2014. Come along anytime Monday to Friday, from 8.30 to 5.00.

Don’t forget to join us on Facebook to let us know how you enjoyed it!

Our tour of the Music Department recording studio

Last week, our team here at the Development and Alumni Relations Office were treated to a tour of the Music Department’s Albany Street recording studio.

Stephen Stedman, Music Department technician, showed us around the building at the bottom of Albany Street, which was originally owned by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (the NZBC).

The building was completed for the NZBC in 1968 with a classic BBC design, made originally for recording full orchestras. Later, the studio housed radio stations 4ZB and later, Classic Hits Dunedin – you may remember breakfast show hosts such as Hillary Muir, and her husband Hamish Clark broadcasting from this very building.

The Music Department now uses the space at Albany Street for recording, rehearsals, and for the department’s postgraduate students.

Stephen showed us around the recording spaces, demonstrated some of the instruments, and showed us the mind-boggling array of controls on the state of the art, Solid State Logic console that’s used for mixing the recordings. We also had a look at ProTools, the computer software widely used in the recording industry today.  

The combination of new and vintage technology was very impressive, and made some of us wish we were studying music!

Jude from our office took some photos, as well as a video of Stephen demonstrating the vibraphone - have a look at this, as well as lots more photos, on our Facebook page.

It was fantastic to see part of what happens in the Music Department, and to learn about the technology used in their programmes. We had a great time!

At the mixing desk: Louise from the Development and Alumni Relations Office.

Are you an alumni of the Music Department? Share your memories... Visit our Facebook page, or email us at


Boots Riley open lecture

For any of you interested in music, media and politics, the Department of Media, Film and Communication, Radio 1, and the Tertiary Education Union are holding a symposium on this very topic on 16 April.

The special guest will be prominent American rapper Boots Riley, who is well known for his music, activism, and teaching. His open lecture is at 5.30pm in Moot Court, and alumni are warmly welcomed... please do come along and enjoy the event.

Don't forget to let us know on Facebook how you enjoyed it!

Really digging the Leith right now...

Kaitlin from our office took this photo of the latest phase of the work being done on the Leith!

Watch this space for more updates... and see our Facebook page for a video of the digger at work!

St Patrick's Day Inaugural Lecture

St Patrick's Day is coming up - and to celebrate this, the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies is holding their Inaugural St Patrick's Day lecture.

Emeritus Professor Andrew Carpenter from University College Dublin will be here at Otago to give his lecture "Fighting for Readers: Swift's Dublin publishers in the 1750s".

All are welcome to this free event, so come along to Burns 4 at 5.30 on Monday 17 March!

The Dunedin Flat Names Project

The Dunedin Flat Names Project was profiled by Otago historian Ali Clarke on her 'Otago 150 years' blog this week, and we love the research that Sarah Gallagher has put into the project and its websites!

Sarah, who works on campus as an academic liaison librarian, undertook the project as part of her own studies - and it grew from there.

Photos of named flats such as 'Pink Flat', 'Brucie's Beenjamin' Butchery', and 'The CSI on Hyde' can be seen on the Dunedin Flat Names website and Flickr, and Sarah also runs both a Facebook and a Twitter account for the project @DnFlatNames.

She is also currently turning her research into a book for publication. The project was recently featured in the Dunedin Star as well.

Here's a link to Sarah's own blog, where she profiles 'flat of the month', 660 Castle Street.

On our Facebook, we'll be featuring 'Named Dunedin flat' items, sharing Sarah's flat of the month and asking you to vote on your favourite flats!

Did you live in one of the 'named flats'? Do you have a favourite flat? Join us on our Facebook and share your memories...


Image © Sarah Gallagher. Click here to view the original image.

New Visitors' Centre open

Been to the new Visitors’ Centre yet?

Since January, over 2700 people have been through the Centre, which is located at the St David Street entrance of the University. Tourists, students, parents, alumni, and the general public are all welcomed!

The Centre, apart from offering memorabilia and merchandise, also features interactive displays and uploadable campus tours for smartphone, as well as offering pre-arranged campus tours for prospective students and their parents.

So far, about two-thirds of visitors have been tourists, and a quarter have been students. Feedback so far has been positive, and Director of Student Services (and Project Convenor) David Richardson notes that the Centre is “a very positive addition for the University and for the wider community.”

An official opening is planned for later this month – look out for this and please do come along to the event!

Until then (and afterwards!), the centre is open every day, from 9am to 4.30pm. Pop in and have a look!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photos.

And the walls came tumbling down...

A 25 metre section of the Leith retaining wall came down this week. And the work continues...

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for the news item and photo.

Hot pick podcast: Exploring Youth Justice: Progress and Possibilities.

This is a really interesting panel discussion chaired by Professor Murray Rae (Head of the Department of Theology and Religion), and featuring Judge Andrew Becroft (Principal Youth Court Judge), Professor Mark Henaghan (Dean of the Faculty of Law), Professor Chris Marshall (Victoria University) and Dr Shayne Walker (Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work).

Click here to watch! And don't forget to join us on Facebook.

University of Otago named as major Highlanders sponsor

The University of Otago has become one of the major sponsors of the Highlanders, in a move primarily aimed at capitalising on the rugby franchise’s significant marketing exposure by the national and international media...

Click here to read more

Introducing… Special Collections

Special Collections is an (almost) hidden gem in Central Library. Tucked away around the corner on the first floor, across from the Reserve Desk, the Collections is home to a treasure trove of books and manuscripts from early European printing to collections up to the 21st century.

Print, paper, illustrations, and extensive collections such as the De Beer Collection, the Charles Brasch Collection, and collections of popular genres such as pulp fiction and science fiction (most notably the Fastier Collection) are all there for browsing. 

Regular exhibitions such as the recent Rare Delights III: Recent Additions to Special Collections, Reaching Out: Celebrating 100 years of Otago Physiotherapy Graduates, and Celebrating Pharmacy, are open to students, staff, alumni and the general public.

If you never visited Special Collections as a student, then on your next trip to Central Library to use your alumni library card, why not come to the Collections while you’re there? The Collections are open Monday to Friday, from 8.30am-5.00pm. 

And if you’re not in Dunedin, you can still ‘visit’ the library’s Digital Collections. Exhibitions eventually go online, so you can view images and learn more about what’s been on display. From now onwards, we’ll be highlighting our current favourite Digital Collection of the month and posting them for you to browse from where ever you are.

Learn more about Special Collections here - and scroll down the page for a ‘virtual tour’ of the collections from special collections librarian Dr Donald Kerr.

Our first Digital Collection of the month is one of a number of ‘space’-themed items we’ll be sharing over the coming weeks - ‘Ray Guns & Rocket Ships: The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection’.

Click here to view the e-exhibition!

And don't forget to join us on Facebook and share your thoughts!

Hot pick podcast: John Broughton, A bro-fessor in the whare...

Professor John Broughton's Inaugural Professorial Lecture is our hot pick for this week. Professor Broughton is the Director of the Ngai Tahu Maori Health Research Unit.

Click here to watch the podcast! Don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards.

Turning over a new Leith...

A facelift for the Leith… over the coming months, the Leith is being revamped. The flood protection scheme is being undertaken by Downer Construction, the Otago Regional Council’s contractor. Once the scheme is complete, there will be new terraces grassed and planted, with foothpaths following the edge of the river, just above river level.

The west (right) bank of the river will be excavated, with trees removed and relocated, works to the riverbed, and the St David footbridge will also be altered.

University Project Manager Christian German says, “Once finished, the new terraces on the west bank will be grassed and planted out; there will be wide steps down from the terraces and a footpath along the edge of the river. I know it is difficult to imagine now, but it will still be the nice place to sit and relax that it was before."

The work should be complete by June, and it promises to be a fantastic spot to come and visit!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo.

Congratulations Deborah Lambie!

Otago alumna and fifth year medical student Deborah Lambie has won the title of Miss Speech at World Miss University 2014 in Seoul, Korea.

As part of the competition, Deborah gave three speeches. One of the speeches was on health and the environment, and promoting lifestyle habits such as walking, and growing your own food. At the peace forum, her speech related her grandfather's perspective on war - as a WWII veteran, she said, he believed that war was not the answer.

Deborah is an honours graduate in Medical Science, and last year she completed her Masters in Entrepeneurship. This year will be her fifth year of medical study.

Congratulations Deborah!

Read the full story from the Otago Daily Times here, and please join us on Facebook to post your congratulatory messages to Deborah.



Love at Otago

Did you meet your partner at Otago? It's two weeks until Valentine's Day, and we want to hear your story... Post your 'Otago Valentine' stories or message them to us on our Facebook, or email us at - and include your photos too!




Hot pick podcast: Get off the Grass - Shaun Hendy

In this podcast, Professor Shaun Hendy discusses the book he wrote with Sir Paul Callaghan, on developing a more innovative economy and how science plays a role in this. An interesting talk!

Click here to watch the podcast, and then visit us on Facebook afterwards!

Climb (and revise) every mountain...

New research here at Otago by Otago National School of Surveying researcher Dr Pascal Sirguey and Master's student Sebastian Vivero is taking 30 metres off the official height of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

New Zealand’s highest mountain is currently listed as 3,754 metres above sea level. However an Otago-led expedition in November last year (with support from GNS Science and New Zealand Aerial Mapping Ltd) used high accuracy GPS to show that the peak is actually 3,724m high.

Dr Sirguey, the project leader, and Vivero had performed new aerial photography-based calculations, and the GPS readings confirmed what they had found. Sirguey says that the old height was taken in 1991 after a massive rock-ice collapse, and that since then, the ice gap has been through a reshaping process.

“By carefully studying photos taken after the collapse,” he says, “it appears that there was still a relatively thick ice cap, which was most likely out of balance with the new shape of the summit ridge. As a result the ice cap has been subject to erosion over the past 20 years. While the effects of climate change may spring to mind as an explanation, it is probably a case of a simple change in the geomorphology of the mountain.”

Aoraki/Mt Cook is still the highest mountain in New Zealand, with Rarakiroa/Mount Tasman being the second highest at 3497m.

The four-person Otago expedition that obtained the GPS data was led by Dr Nicolas Cullen from the Department of Geography.

"...we suspected that Aoraki was tens of metres lower than the official height, so it is very satisfying to have our estimates validated by GPS."

Jim Anderson of Survey Waitaki, a recent graduate from the National School of Surveying, and Dr Cullen took the GPS measurements, and they were guided up and down the mountain by Geoff Wayatt and Brian Weedon of Mountain Recreation Limited.

“It was very exciting to see that the team’s GPS data closely matched our photogrammetric calculations from a 2008 aerial survey. From early on in this work we suspected that Aoraki was tens of metres lower than the official height, so it is very satisfying to have our estimates validated by GPS.”

The team made contact with Ngāi Tahu prior to beginning their work. Mandy Home of Arowhenua, Ngāi Tahu, says, “Aoraki is culturally significant to Ngāi Tahu and we as a people refer to Aoraki as our ancestor. The fact that Pascal and his team made contact with Ngāi Tahu prior to commencement of the re-survey project is commendable. The team’s subsequent development of a specific methodology to avoid standing on the summit of Aoraki was also greatly appreciated,” says Home.

To further acknowledge the role of Ngāi Tahu as the kaitiaki of Aoraki, the results were presented to the iwi before they were presented anywhere else.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) was among several organisations that provided financial and scientific support for the project, and the new data will be used in both LINZ online data and in the next printing of hard copy topographic maps. 

Other sponsors and supporters of the project include Southern Approach Ltd, the Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand (FMC), and the New Zealand Institute of Surveying (NZIS).

Video clip of the climb:

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo.

Calling alumni and friends of Allen Hall

A message from Lisa Warrington for alumni and friends of Allen Hall:

I hope you all know about the Allen Hall 100th year celebration on 12 - 14 September this year. In case you don't, have a look at the Facebook page set up for it.

I really hope you can come! But even if you can't, I would love you to contribute to the book we are making to go with the event.

I'm asking for anecdotes about your time in Allen Hall, if you have any you want to share, AND I'm also asking if you would be willing to write a short (250 words-ish) biography, so we can look at all the things that former Allen Hallers have been up to in their lives since Allen Hall days.

It would be WONDERFUL if you wanted to contribute. Please send stuff to me at - Sooner rather than later - like now! - so you don't put it off and forget. Please do it!   And don’t forget to send in your photos!  The more the merrier!!!

Also, please could you spread the word both about the event itself, and about my request for anecdotes and bios, to anyone and everyone you know who has an association with Allen Hall. That can include people who have performed here, not just people who went through any of the Drama/Theatre Studies papers. And/or can you send me names and email contacts for anyone you are still in touch with?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Six60 Forever...

Otago alumni band Six60 have released a new video! The song, 'Forever', features on the soundtrack to Vaterfreuden, a new German movie directed by Matthias Schweighöfer. The film looks extremely entertaining to say the least!

Here's a link to the video - sit back, watch and listen, and then join us on Facebook to let us know how you enjoyed it!


Hot pick podcast: Lisa McNeil, Y-Worry? Generation Y's attitudes to debt and money

This week’s hot pick podcast is from Dr Lisa McNeil of Marketing. Part of the Winter Lecture series a few years ago, this lecture is still an extremely relevant and interesting insight into the spending behaviour of Generation Y. Tune in to find out more!

Click here to watch the podcast, and remember to join us on Facebook afterwards!


Queenstown open lecture - Professor Cecilia Bitz

Calling Queenstown area alumni... there's an open lecture at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort on Monday evening. It's free to attend!

The Future of Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice - Professor Cecilia Bitz
Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington Seattle, Washington, USA

Monday 20 January 2014
Conference Room 1
Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront Corner of Frankton Road and Adelaide Street

Professor Cecilia Bitz is an internationally renowned sea ice and climate modelling researcher. She is visiting the University of Otago on a Fulbright US Scholar Award. In this talk she will describe the record sea ice coverage in the last decade for the Arctic and Antarctic. The Arctic has experienced record losses, especially in summer, while the Antarctic has had expanding sea ice. How is this possible in an era of global climate change, and what can we expect in the future? She will address these and other important questions about the sea ice cover on our planet.

The lecture is sponsored by the University of Otago's Polar Environments Research Theme, so if you have an interest in this area then come along on Monday.

Here's a bit more about the Research Theme:

Don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards and let us know how it was!

Hot pick podcast: Helen Lenskyj, Sex, Drugs and Olympic Gold

This week’s hot pick podcast is a really engaging talk from Dr Helen Lenskyj, 2013’s William Evans Fellow in the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science. Dr Lenskyj discusses the expectations around femininity for women Olympic athletes, as well as other issues around sexuality and gender.

Click here to watch the lecture, and remember to join us on Facebook afterwards!



Hot pick podcast: Beyond University of Otago - one graduate's story

Happy New Year everyone - we’re back from the break! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Our first hot pick podcast for 2014 is from Otago alumna Dr AnnMarie Oien. AnnMarie, a Physics graduate, tells her story of life in the US after graduation.

Click here to watch AnnMarie's entertaining talk - and remember to join us on Facebook afterwards!



Hot pick podcast: In conversation with Ian Rankin

This week’s hot pick podcast is a conversation with prolific Scottish crime author, Ian Rankin. He visited Otago earlier this year to discuss his work with Professor Liam McGilvanney from the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, and take questions from the audience. His Inspector Rebus novels have been adapted for TV as the Rebus detective series.

Get yourself a coffee, and click here to enjoy the podcast.

Don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards!


Culture Jamming

Ever wished you could keep learning about popular culture and politics? You don’t have to be at lectures if you want to keep up with what’s out there – apart from our hot pick podcasts (which are from all the disciplines), there’s also a fantastic show now on Radio One that goes by the name of Culture Jamming.

Hosted by media studies lecturer Dr Rosemary Overell, the show combines an eclectic mix of music with informed commentary from an Otago expert in popular music and politics.

Rosemary, who began teaching in the Department of Media, Film and Communication just this year, completed her PhD at Melbourne University, on the topic of Japanese grindcore.

“Although my thesis was about extreme metal,” she says, “I’ve always had an interest in all types of popular music and their sociocultural significance. Culture Jamming gives me a chance to rehearse ideas in a casual, but still critically engaged, format.

"It’s also an interactive programme - we have guests most weeks, ranging from musicians to academics in the field of music cultural studies. We also have a very active twitter feed (@cultjamming) and Facebook page."

Alumni interested in music and politics are invited to listen, interact, and engage in this growing academic field (while you’re also being entertained).

Playlists for the show are on the show’s social media, and if you’ve missed the live broadcasts so far, don’t worry! You can catch up on the show via the Radio One website.

Culture Jamming is on Radio One 91fm on Sundays from 12-2pm.

Photo by Duncan Box (Rosemary Overell in the Radio One studio with acclaimed Melbourne noise artist Christopher L. G. Hill).

Don't forget to let us know how you enjoyed the show!

Memories of Radio One from your own student days? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or send us an email at - we'd love to hear from you!

Otago and Ngai Tahu re-sign their MOU


This week, Ngai Tahu and Otago re-signed their Memorandum of Understanding.  The event demonstrated a decade’s worth of embedding Ngai Tahu goals and aspirations into the University, leading to much higher numbers of Maori graduates.

There was a blessing and a ceremony at the Clocktower on Tuesday, attended by Ngai Tahu representatives.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said that the MOU is a “living and breathing” document, and she noted that there are now 678 research programmes involving Maori, and that there is a strong commitment at Otago to pastoral support of Maori students.

At the event, several achievements at Otago were noted, including the science wananga outreach programme, research into the mutton bird harvest, the Ngāi Tahu research consultation committee, the research commitment to Ngāi Tahu and Māori over three health science campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington, and the rising numbers of Māori students on health professional programmes, as well as the Hocken Library’s work in preserving Māori Taonga or treasures.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story, and photo of Sir Mark Solomon and Chancellor John Ward signing the Memorandum of Understanding.

December graduation events and live streams

This years’ December graduations are being celebrated in the Octagon. These after-graduation events, organised by us here at the Development and Alumni Relations Office and the DCC, along with lower Octagon café owners and Dunedin NZ, replace the marquee after-celebration of previous years.

The Saturday 7 December graduation was celebrated in the Octagon with drinks and nibbles and local bands playing, and it will all happen again on 14 December, with the event going from 1pm-6.30pm.

This December’s graduations will, once again, also be live streamed. Visit the links below for more information – the live streams will be available on those pages also.

11 December graduation

14 December graduation (1pm) (4pm)


Hot pick podcast: Graeme Downes, Untimely Meditations – A Songwriter’s Occupation

In this lecture, Dr Graeme Downes of the Music Department – and of Dunedin band the Verlaines – talks about songwriting, his new album, and the music industry. Click here to watch!

And if you were in Dunedin during the Verlaines’ heyday, you’ll remember Graeme for this at the very least:

Share your memories of the Dunedin music scene when you were a student – memorable gigs, photos, anything! Share them with us on our Facebook, or email us at


A new type of textbook...

Remember your old textbooks? Still have them? And how about those queues at the beginning of the year when you went in to the UBS with your textbook lists!

Those days are of the distant past, and textbooks are catching up with technology. Academics, librarians and postgrads from New Zealand and Australia have been working on a new type of text...

The recent Media TextHack weekend in the Department of Media, Film and Communication focused on putting together media and communication studies course materials into an open source online text – all within 48 hours.  

The weekend was led by the Department’s Dr Erika Pearson, University of Otago Copyright Officer Richard White, librarian Simon Hart, and PhD student Bernard Madill (also of Media, Film and Communication).

It’s an ongoing project that can be added to and edited along the way, and a really big bonus is that it’ll be a free resource for students. No more shelling out for those heavy old books, and you’d never have to worry about whether or not you’ve got the right edition, or scratching your head over whether or not your page numbers match the new edition!  

Best of all, you can’t lose it, leave it behind, or lend it to the wrong person (who inevitably never gives it back to you)…

The textbook will be available to undergraduate students of media and communication studies in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Looks like the future is arriving!


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.

We’d love to hear your memories of your old textbooks… (Alison C here at Alumni remembers having a massive backpack full of texts at the beginning of one year and everyone being really impressed at her strength and fitness at carrying them all home… as well as the time her favourite Classical tragedy textbook was never returned to her!) 

Share your stories with us on our Facebook!


Visitors welcome...

If you’ve been past the St David Lecture Theatres recently, you will have noticed that the new Visitors’ Centre is shaping up!

David Richardson, the Project Convenor, reports that it’s going smoothly.

“The main construction phase of the project is well advanced and we are rapidly heading to the shop fit out stage,” he says.

“The project has involved a lot of design work on not just the building but also concepts on how the Centre will run, the experience it will offer visitors along with a new range of memorabilia.”

When the Centre is completed, there’ll be easy access from the one-way, and once you get in there, you’ll find displays, interactive screens, and general information. It’s expected that the Centre will be complete early in the New Year, so that it’ll be open for the start of the academic year.

It goes without saying that alumni are always welcome, so keep an eye out and pop in to visit!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story. Artists' impression of the Visitors' Centre courtesy of McCoy and Wixon Architects.

Hot pick podcast: Professor Chua Beng Huat, Managing Multiculturalism: Immigration, Population Policy and Citizenship in Singapore

This week’s hot pick is visiting scholar Chua Beng Huat’s presentation on multiculturalism and immigration in contemporary Singapore. As part of the Asian Migrations Research Theme, Professor Chua’s presentation was hosted by the Department of Media, Film and Communication earlier this year. The talk is introduced by Head of Department Dr Vijay Devadas.

Make yourself a cuppa and click here to watch the presentation! And don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards to share your thoughts.

Sir Louis Edward Barnett commemorative plaque

Sir Louis Edward Barnett, CMG (1885-1946) is a prestigious alumni of the University of Otago Medical School. He was Professor of Surgery at Otago, and the first surgeon in the country to wear rubber gloves and a gauze mask in the operating theatre. His research into hydatids was groundbreaking, contributing to the disease being eradicated. He also founded the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, and was internationally known - retiring at age 60, in 1925.

Last Friday, there was an unveiling ceremony for the new replacement New Zealand Historic Places Trust plaque at his former home in Hampden.

40 people attended the event, as well as 20 pupils from Hampden School. Barnett family members came from all over New Zealand for the unveiling.

The plaque was remade by Procote Industries in Dunedin, with the correct colour blue being imported for the enamel.

Sir Louis’ grandson Richard (Dick) Barnett spoke at the ceremony, recalling personal memories, and Professor Andre van Rij - Head of the Department of Surgical Sciences at the Dunedin School of Medicine - spoke about his importance in the medical field.

The original plaque was put in by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1977, and is one of many other plaques put up around Otago and Southland between 1970 and 1982. It has faded in the years since, which led to the need for a replacement.

An article in the Otago Daily Times in 1977, about the Silver Jubilee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, referred to a case that Sir Louis had written about in the New Zealand Medical Journal (which he edited): 

"A young farmer aged 33 years, was thrown from a horse and injured his head. Over the next 16 months he became steadily more ill and lost the power in his left arm and leg.

On March 17 1896, Barnett decided he must open the head to try to save the patient's life. Cautiously he exposed the brain through a skull which was considerably thinned but found the brain beneath of normal appearance. However, probing the brain with a needle produced clear fluid and he was able to coax out of its bed in the brain, with a gentle stream of fluid, an hydatid cyst the size of a 'mandarin orange'.

The patient made an excellent recovery and was discharged from hospital six weeks later, restored to perfect physical and mental health.

This was the second case of hydatid of the brain removed in the Dunedin Hospital and in New Zealand by a method which has since become widely adopted by neurosurgeons."

The plaque unveiling ceremony was followed by an afternoon tea in the garden, put on by the house’s current owners Joe and Margaret Johnston.

You can read the ODT coverage of the ceremony here.

The Oamaru Mail also ran a story

Thanks to Julian Kuzma, and to Hazel Heal of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

New Te Rangi Hiroa college - a special visit to Urenui marae

Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) was a distinguished alumni of Otago’s medical school, being the first Maori medical graduate from a New Zealand university. In 1904 he received his MB ChB, and in 1910 he graduated with his MD. His thesis topic was ‘Medicine among the Maoris, in ancient and modern times’.

In October, it was announced that Otago’s newest residential college would be named after him, and two weeks ago, representatives from the University, Ngāi Tahu, Te Rangi Hiroa’s whanau, and his tribe, Ngāti Mutunga, met at Urenui Pā.

Ngati Mutunga hold ‘Te Rangi Hiroa’ day every year in his honour. He’s remembered as a great son of Taranaki and a leader and doctor. He used his medical training to provide Maori with important care in the first part of the twentieth century when they were faced with serious health problems such as tuberculosis, scabies and lethal water-borne diseases.

University staff and members of Ngai Tahu were welcomed by the whanau and iwi of Te Rangi Hiroa. One of the kaumatua, Dr Tony Ruakere, is also an Otago alumni, graduating with his medical degree in 1970, and later his Diploma of General Practice.

Dr Ruakere spoke about Otago’s commitment to Maori education and the high number of graduates. In his time as a student, he says, only a handful of Maori attended medical school. Of his time at Otago, he says, “… I can name any house number in Dunedin, addresses in Castle Street, and Cumberland Street - these places were just part of the University life of young people. And we studied very, very hard.”

Tuari Potiki, the Director of Maori Development, led the visit, along with Ngai Tahu leaders including Edward Ellison. Tuari says that the visit to Urenui Pā was important as a way to recognise that the relationship with Te Rangi Hiroa’s family and Ngāti Mutunga was more than about the naming of the college.

“This needs to be something deeper and more lasting – a relationship that is ongoing into the future,” he says.

During the visit, the idea of a permanent display at the college profiling Te Rangi Hiroa was discussed, as well as how the University and iwi will build on their relationship in the future.

Ngai Tahu runanga chair Donna Matahaere-Atariki (who is also on the University Council) also spoke, as well as Ashely Day, who is the newly appointed warden for Te Rangi Hiroa College.

The new college will open in February next year!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photos.


Hot pick podcast: Jacob Edmond, Poetry and Piracy: Copyright and Poetic Licence

This week’s hot pick podcast is a fascinating talk from Associate Professor Jacob Edmond, on the topic of poetry, piracy and copyright.

From the Department of English and Linguistics, Assoc. Prof. Edmond’s discussion was the 2012 Carl Smith Medal lecture – as an early career researcher, he was presented this award for his outstanding scholarly achievement.

Get yourself a coffee (or tea), and click here to enjoy the lecture!




Award for the old Gardies

If you ever spent time at the Gardies pub, you wouldn’t even recognise it now. It’s so unrecognisable, it just won an award – in its new guise as the Marsh Study Centre – from the New Zealand Institute of Architects, at the 2013 Southern Architecture Awards.

The new study centre, which was designed by Mason and Wales Architects Ltd, won the education category. The NZIA said that the University’s redevelopment of the old Gardies recognises the importance of the ‘social’. 

The building includes a café on the ground floor, indoor and outdoor tables, chairs and comfortable couches, with the sitting area facing the Botanic Gardens. There’s also a gas fire in the centre of the ground floor room. The upstairs area is for study, with comfy study booths in an open area, and other smaller interconnected rooms and spaces.

Congrats to the Marsh Study Centre!

Here’s some old coverage we found on RadioLive from when the Gardies closed down


Memories of the Gardies? Share them with us on Facebook!


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photo of the Marsh Study Centre.


70 Years of 'Irreverence': Arana College Anniversary Celebrations

Arana College is celebrating its 70th Anniversary on 23 and 24 November. Along with a dinner for 144 people, there will be a service at Knox Church, a tour of Arana College (and of Dunedin), official photographs, and a tree planting in Arana’s grounds. 

Arana College Warden Jamie Gilbertson says, “It will be a chance to celebrate the old stories and some intimate details of the history of the Hall. We have residents from the 1940s and ‘50s coming, some of them were at the centre of the old tales we’ll be telling.”

Arana Hall was founded in 1943 by Presbyterian Reverent HW Turner and the Stuart Hall Council, to meet the growing demand for accommodation.

“It was run on a shoestring,” says Mr Gilbertson. “’Arana’, the Sir James Allen homestead, was the mother ship. The Nissen huts with pinex walls were built around it, a scattered collection of houses accommodated more students, and they came to the house for meals.

“The first students were very robust young men with a wicked sense of humour and a large appetite for playing pranks and jokes on the long-suffering staff – they were irreverent to the Reverends.

“I am glad I wasn’t a warden then, they would have given us a real run for our money. Some had had wartime experience; they’d been overseas fighting. They weren’t going listen to the Reverend when he said they weren’t allowed to drink beer.”

Nowadays, Arana Hall is known as Arana College and it has a roll of 400. Since 1978, female students have been accommodated at Arana, and they are now 60% of the college residents.

Mr Gilbertson notes that even since the old days of irreverent pranks, “This college is still laughing – it’s the echoes of laughter from those original rascals. We are still scallywags. We have a history of high academic achievement and tremendous fun.”

The Hall’s first Factor Eric Low certainly had to put up with a lot! In 1947 Arana’s magazine The Urchin wrote about it: “Eric lived in what is now the common room, and to that hideout he retreated whenever the situation appeared to be out of control. In fact, upon one occasion it was only the timely arrival of the Matron returning late in the evening which enabled the Factor to emerge for his nightly ablutions without being terrorised by those terrible boys.

“And there was the occasion when a rope was tied between his door handle and the present dining-room door handle – a room occupied by Tubby Dignan. This rope had just the required degree of slack in it. At a given signal that much used warden baiter, the sewing machine, was pushed violently up and down the front hall. Eric’s door opened and out popped Eric’s head and shoulders to determine (cautiously, mind you!) the cause of the disturbance.

“This was Tubby’s cue. He opened his door vigorously (and how!), the rope tightened, and Eric was firmly held between his door and the jamb – while Tubby solicitously asks the nature of his plight, the solution of which was a perplexing problem and took a considerable time to solve…”

While there may not be any pranks at the 70th anniversary celebrations, it’s always possible that some of the pranksters might be in attendance!

Photo: Arana Hall residents in 1946, some of them World War II veterans.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and photo.


Disaster! A symposium

If you’re an alumni of Media, Film and Communication, or if you’re just interested in some public lectures on environmental justice, everyday disasters, or the War on Terror, then you should come along to these public lectures in the Department next week.

All are welcome to this event, which is being put on by the Postcolonial Studies Research Network - so come on back in to the Richardson building on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to hear some engaging speakers.

Remember to join us on Facebook afterwards too!


"Thank you very much for your kind donations..."

Been to the Hocken recently? Interested in some local history? Maybe you even studied it yourself! Whatever your interest, there are some really fascinating items in the Hocken collections, and last week, Hocken staff and 65 invited guests celebrated recent donations with a donor recognition event.

Donations over the last year have included: a series of glass-plate negatives of a 20th century Otago family, a series of letters written in German, two original Burton Brothers prints showing the PWD locomotive ‘Rob Roy’ on the viaduct at Deep Stream c.1890, photographs of houses and buildings in the Dunedin suburb of Mornington, taken and donated by Dr Ray Hargreaves, and a collection of bottle labels from Dunedin and wider Otago beer and cordial manufacturers donated by Frank Leckie (which complements the collection of Wests NZ Ltd soft drink bottle labels).

The group of recent donors were given a tour of the gallery exhibition by Curator of Pictorial Collections Natalie Poland.

University Librarian Howard Amos welcomed everyone at the evening event, and Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell spoke as well about the importance, value and usefulness of the donations.

“Donations are vital to the Hocken, with its plethora of collections that cover more than one hundred and fifty years of New Zealand history. Every year well over a hundred people donate books, magazines, newspapers, pictures, photographs, maps, music, ephemera, archives and personal papers to the Hocken. They are individuals, families and organisations who value research and history and want to make these items available for present and future generations of researchers,” says Sharon.

“The Hocken collections would be unable to maintain their relevance to the communities that they serve without this kind of support. While the operational budget and acquisition of books are covered by the University of Otago, the purchase of unpublished material, which includes art, photographs and archives, is reliant on Trust funds established by past benefactors,” she says.

Sharon adds that historical donations that the Hocken has received have provided the inspiration for the current exhibition, Place Makers: artists & iconic landscapes.

Alumni are always welcome to come and have a look around – so come and see what there is! And don’t forget to let us know what you enjoyed the most (join us on Facebook)!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and the photos.


100 Years of Physiotherapy Alumni!

The School of Physiotherapy’s 100-year celebration is about to wrap up. This year the School has celebrated their centenary with alumni events, presentations, a book launch, and a Centennial Conference.

They’ve also had an exhibition on display – Reaching Out: Celebrating 100 years of Otago Physiotherapy Graduates 1913-1013 – at the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections. It goes until mid-December, so if you haven’t been to see it yet, come along soon and learn more about what Physiotherapy alumni have done in their field!

“The exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to profile our graduates, to tell their stories in way that wasn’t possible in our centenary book or our other centenary activities and to physically engage with important archival material on display,” says Senior Lecturer Dr Gill Johnson, who is also the exhibition curator.

“The exhibition strongly mirrors the evolution of the School into a leading research institution of international repute by highlighting the early emphasis on massage, electrotherapy and childbirth education in the early part of the curriculum through to the current day suite of qualifications offered by the School of Physiotherapy.”

The exhibition goes until 13 December. (If you can’t make it, it'll also be available online – keep an eye out!)

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and photos.

Dr Gill Johnson with colleagues and postgraduates at the Reaching Out exhibition.

If you're an alumni of the School of Physiotherapy, we'd love to hear your memories. Email us or join us on Facebook to share your stories!


Hot pick podcast: Second Impressions: A Sequel to ‘Pride and Prejudice’

We’ve picked this week’s podcast for you, and this time it’s another one from the Department of English and Linguistics - an open lecture by Sandy Lerner, founder of the Chawton House Library.

Under the name of Ava Farmer, Sandy wrote a sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ – click here to tune in and listen to her talk about (and read from) her work!  The lecture is introduced by Professor Emerita Jocelyn Harris - who, if you studied English, you will remember very well!



Residential College Chef of the Year 2013

It’s a bit like MasterChef, but with an Otago twist… Last night, nine teams of chefs competed in the 2013 Residential College Chef of the Year cook-off!

Wade Kennard and Owen Newbould from Abbey College were the winning team, coming away with not just bragging rights but also the coveted Residential Chef of the Year trophy.

The competition was in the ISB Link, with a panel judging the teams on technique, skill, first impression, presentation, and how well the chefs used their ‘mystery ingredients’. The teams presented two courses to the judging panel, who were Tony Hepinstall (Otago Polytechnic), Helen Mason (Two Chefs Restaurant) and Shane Gibson (Southern Hospitality).

College Catering Manager Gary McNeill says the yearly competition celebrates our unsung catering heroes, highlighting what they can achieve. “They’re all keen to be the college that takes home the trophy”.

Alongside the main event, spectators took part in a cupcake decorating contest, as well as wine tasting and matching. A delicious time all round!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and photos.


Remember dinner time in your residential college? Join us on Facebook and share your memories…


30 years for General Practice and Rural Health

Nearly 100 alumni, students, staff and local general practitioners commemorated 30 years of Otago’s General Practice and Rural Health Department last Friday at the University Staff Club.

The Head of Department, Associate Professor Chrys Jaye, says the event was a huge success.

“It was wonderful to see so many people reconnecting, reminiscing and networking with our speakers and each other.”

Mark Brunton from the Office of Maori Development delivered a mihi to start the celebrations off, which continued with a series of speakers including the former and present Heads of Department and Dr Graham Mortimer, who is the former Dean of the Dunedin School of Medicine.

Sue Farry presented this year’s Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Scholarships, worth a total of $30,000, to Rebecca Craw and David Neynens. These scholarships are awarded to encourage undergraduate and rural health professional research and professional development.

The Department was established in 1983 (it was at first called the Department of General Practice), and it was one of the first such departments in the world. It was the first one to ever be established in New Zealand.

Professor Susan Dovey, who teaches in the department, says that “The creation of the Department reflected an emerging view of the importance of generalist and primary care medicine in New Zealand, and internationally. This view has only got stronger over the last 30 years.”

Associate Professor Jaye says that the Department has developed a strong rural focus, “delivering 25 per cent of the undergraduate curriculum, setting up a Postgraduate Diploma in rural provincial hospital practice and a Postgraduate Certificate in clinician performed ultrasound, in addition to a rural immersion programme for fifth year medical students.”

Over 100 graduates from the Department have gone on to occupy key positions within The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, and other professional bodies in New Zealand.

Assoc. Prof. Jaye says that in the future for the Department are stronger interdisciplinary relationships with other health professions, and the development of a stronger research profile.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story and photo.

Were you one of the alumni that attended the commemoration? If you’re a graduate of this Department – from any of the 30 years! - we’d love to hear from you… what are some of your best memories?  Join us on Facebook and share your stories!

O-Taiko drumming group ‘drums up’ funds

Hanami celebration outside the Clocktower

Remember the O-Taiko drumming group? They showed how passionate they are in the recent Hanami celebrations, and it turns out they’re also passionate about helping those in need.

The O-Taiko group has taken part in fundraising efforts for various causes in the past couple of years, starting with performances to raise money for earthquake and tsunami victims in Christchurch and Japan – raising $1166 for the Red Cross last year to help with Christchurch earthquake relief. This year, the group’s fundraising will help with tsunami relief efforts in Japan.  

The group’s fundraising efforts this year will culminate in a concert here at Otago on Saturday 16 November. There will also be workshops between performances, where you can learn how to play taiko!  

"Drumming is a very important part of Japanese culture, and not only are the drums used in musical training and performance, but they also act as a window into the fascinating world of Japanese culture," says Professor Henry Johnson, of the Department of Music.

The drums used by O-Taiko are also used in courses in the Department of Music, where students learn not only about taiko drumming but also Japanese culture.

This Saturday’s concert and workshop are from 1.00-3.00pm at Mary Hopewell Theatre (University of Otago). Entrance is by donation – come along!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.


Children of War film screening

Children of War is a film based on research being done in the Department of History and Art History about mixed-race children born to Pacific women and US servicemen during World War II. The project, led by Professor Judy Bennett, is called Mothers' Darlings, and you’re invited to come along to this film that springs from the project!

The screening is in the St David Lecture theatre on Thursday 21 November, from 1.30-3.30pm.


Hope to see you there! And don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards!

Hot Pick Podcast: In conversation with Jim Flynn

This week’s podcast is from the Department of Political Studies. Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn talks about his early life and academic career, which began at the University of Chicago when he received a scholarship to study Politics and Philosophy. Professor Flynn has been at the University of Otago since 1967, when he came here to take up the position of Foundation Chair in Political Studies. Here he is in conversation with Associate Professor Charles Pigden.

Click here to watch the podcast, and remember to join us on Facebook afterwards!


"I'm ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille..."

Calling all media graduates!

Are you working in the media right now? Whether you're in the movies, television, radio, music, or print media - we’d love to hear about it. Catch up with us on Facebook and let us know what you're doing!

Or, if you know someone we could profile on our website, send us an email at We'll be waiting to hear from you!


Award for Otago filmmaker!

Otago’s Professor Lloyd Spencer Davis has been awarded the 2013 Ronald B. Tobias Award for Achievement in Science and Natural History Filmmaking Education.

Professor Davis, an internationally recognised scientist, author and filmmaker, received the award late last month at a ceremony at Montana State University (MSU).

Professor Davis says he was extremely honoured to have his contributions to science and natural history filmmaking education recognised.

“I was chuffed at the news. Together with NHNZ we set up the first tertiary course in the world on natural history filmmaking. There are now at least six other such courses around the globe. It is nice to think that we were at the forefront and started something that has flourished so well.”

Professor Davis helped to establish Otago’s Science Communication Programme in 2008. He is the director of the Centre for Science Communication, and Stuart Professor of Science Communication.

His academic honours include a Fulbright Fellowship, an Anzac Fellowship and a Prince and Princess of Wales Science Award.

He has produced films since 1985, including documentaries such as Eating Like a Gannet, Under Galapagos, and the multiple award-winning Meet the Real Penguins. Professor Davis' award-winning books include Looking for Darwin and Plight of the Penguin, which was New Zealand Post’s New Zealand Children’s Book of the Year.

Here’s a clip we found of him introducing one of his books, Looking for Darwin

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.


Calling others like Professor Davis! If you (or anyone else you know from Otago!) are now working in the media, let us know… We’d love to hear about what you’re doing. Email us at or, drop us a line on Facebook!

Story, Emotion and Science

The 2013 Psycolloguy is coming up, and you’re invited to the keynote address by Dr Paul Trotman – Story, Emotion and Science. Dr Trotman is a doctor, writer and filmmaker whose company, PRNfilms, makes medical documentaries for TVNZ and TV3. He also makes teaching and communication films for health and science professionals.

His public lecture on Thursday 21 November is all about emotions and how to “use the dark arts of commercial television” to communicate scientific research through stories, reaching people’s emotions. Brain chemicals like dopamine start firing off and facts and figures transform into something a lot more interesting!  

Mark this free event in your diary and come along to learn more about the link between psychology, science and the media – it’s on 21 November at 11:00am, in the Mark Parker Seminar Room at University College (315 Leith Street, Dunedin).

Click here for more info!



What's up, Bonedoc?

Now instead of asking ‘who’s for a game of Operation?’, you can try your hand at surgery on your iPhone! Otago’s Dr Phil Blyth, a senior lecturer in eLearning in medicine and a practising emergency medicine doctor, has developed Bonedoc – an app that lets you step into a virtual operating theatre and repair a hip fracture.

On the app you can realign bones, place a plate and fit screws. You check your work and get immediate feedback via x-ray. At the end of the operation, you receive a score for your surgical skills! The app has been hooked up to the Apple Game Centre, so you can compete for the highest score with friends or even other doctors.

Dr Blyth says the inspiration for Bonedoc started when he was working as an orthopaedic registrar, when he would have to learn how to do an operation by first watching and then being guided through the process.

"A big part of it is seeing all the steps and practising those steps over and over," he says.

Dr Graham Strong from Otago Innovation says the mobile app space is a great way to deliver niche specialised information to a wider audience.

"Phil is unique. Not only is he a fantastic medical professional but he has taught himself to code effectively. Combining that medical expertise with that computer coding expertise has produced this mobile application which is targeted at real world situations. The things you do on the app are things that would happen in a real surgery."

"The power of the Game Centre is not to be underestimated - particularly where the gaming component of the app has a monetary value. So you earn virtual dollars for doing your surgery. As more and more people come on board that competitive nature will kick in and we will get a lot more players coming back to it."

An Android version of Bonedoc is due for release in 2014. Other operations are also being developed.

The app is available from or the Apple AppStore. So who’s up for a game? …

Don't forget to join us on Facebook and let us know how you scored!


Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.

Stroma @ Marama Hall!

Stroma is New Zealand’s largest chamber ensemble, and you can see them play music by local composers at Marama Hall this Monday 11 November, 7.30pm.

The programme includes:

SAMUEL HOLLOWAY: Hard Science (world premiere)

SAMUEL HOLLOWAY: New work (world premiere)

MICHAEL NORRIS: Timedance (excerpts)

MICHAEL NORRIS: Tre Canzoni Imperfette


GEORGE CRUMB: Eleven Echoes of Autumn

Tickets are $20 (or $10 for students). Come along for an evening of culture! (Don’t forget to join us on Facebook afterwards and let us know how you enjoyed it).

Learn more about Stroma and listen to some of their music at the Stroma website!


Panel Discussion on Scottish Independence

Come along to a public discussion presented by the Centre for Scottish Studies: Panel Discussion on Scottish Independence. A panel of experts will explore the upcoming Scottish referendum, the pros and cons of Scottish independence, and what the implications are for New Zealand. It promises to be an interesting event!

Come along on 26 November at 5.30pm – click on the poster for more info!



Hot Pick Podcast: An Evening with Doug Johnstone

Hot Pick Podcast: This week’s podcast is from the Department of English and Linguistics – An Evening with Doug Johnstone. This Scottish author reads from his novel ‘Gone Again’, answers audience questions, and even sings some songs. Johnstone’s previous novel has been lauded by such well-known authors as Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh.

‘Tune in’ now by clicking here, and be part of the audience... and then join us on Facebook afterwards and let us know how you enjoyed it!

Book launch: ‘Peace, Power & Politics: How New Zealand Became Nuclear Free’

The launch of Maire Leadbeater’s new book, ‘Peace, Power & Politics: How New Zealand Became Nuclear Free’ is coming up! Otago University Press & The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies are holding this exciting book launch on 14 November, 5.30-7.30pm in the University Union. RSVP is essential, so email by Friday 1 November, and come along!

Exploring Youth Justice: Progress and Possibilities

Exploring Youth Justice: Progress and Possibilities
Tuesday 5th November, 5.15 - 6.30pm

On the panel will be:

  • Judge Andrew Becroft, (Principal Youth Court Judge)
  • Professor Mark Henaghan, (Dean of the Faculty of Law)
  • Professor Chris Marshall, (Victoria University, Wellington)
  • Dr Shayne Walker, (Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work)

One often hears laments about the loss of moral standards and the high rates of criminal offending among youth. In fact, however, rates of youth offending in New Zealand have been declining in recent years. But there is work yet to be done. The panel will consider the progress made thus far, the things that could be done to improve things further, and also the larger question of the goals toward which our justice system should be directed: what does justice consist in and what does it mean for justice to be done?

The panel will be chaired by Professor Murray Rae, Head of Department of Theology and Religion.

To reserve your seat in the Studio, please contact Kirsten Eyre either by email on or phone (03) 471 6458. Do hurry as places are limited! Or you can watch live, online via this link.

Christmas giving started early: Operation Christmas Child

Spreading the Christmas cheer! Otago's Academic Services Division staff have been busy playing the part of Santa’s elves, filling shoeboxes with gifts to send to children in need overseas. This is all part of ‘Operation Christmas Child’.  

Over the last four weeks, 45 staff prepared over 20 boxes for donation. Each box was filled with gifts, for either a girl or a boy of a specific age range. Manager of the Admissions, Enrolment and University Information Centre Philippa Hoult came up with the idea, and others were keen to get on board, buying small gifts and putting them together for the boxes.

Susan Larsen of Admissions and Enrolment says that there were categories of gift suggestions: “something to love, something special, some things for school, something to play with and something for personal hygiene. So, for example, we have soft toys, marbles and balls, pens and pencils, facecloths, soap and toothbrushes, T-shirts and caps.”

The finished boxes were delivered last Tuesday to the local representatives of Samaritan’s Purse, the international relief organisation which coordinates Operation Christmas Child.

This is not the first year that Academic Services staff have pooled their efforts to spread some Christmas cheer - in other years, the group has provided supplies to the SPCA and to local food banks.

Here's a picture of three staff - Emma Stocker, Susan Larsen and Alethea Chittenden - with some of the finished boxes!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.


Hot Pick Podcast: Richard Porter, 'Stress, earthquakes and the brain'

Hot pick podcast time... This week’s hot pick is Professor Richard Porter’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture (Department of Psychological Medicine) - a fascinating look at stress and earthquakes, and how these events affect the brain!

Click here to watch the lecture, and remember to join us on Facebook afterwards!



Peer-reviewed rap?

The ScienceTeller Festival is nearly here, and whether it's whales, waste, beetles, or the science of beer, there's something for everyone. The student film premieres are going to be a must-see!

On the programme is something you will have never seen before – peer-reviewed hip-hop. World-renowned science rapper Baba Brinkman is here to present The Rap Guide to Evolution. Described as “provocative, hilarious, intelligent, and scientifically accurate”, Baba’s show combines Darwin’s theory of evolution with re-workings of popular rap songs. He’s taken the show to Edinburgh, and had a successful run Off Broadway.

On Saturday at 3.30pm in the Otago Museum’s Hutton Theatre, Baba will be running ‘The Rapper’s Guide to Rapping’ – a workshop on how to combine rap and science.

The Rap Guide to Evolution is on at the Regent Theatre this Friday 25 October, 1.45pm-2.45pm.

See the ScienceTeller website and programme for more info.

Remember to join us on Facebook afterwards and let us know how you enjoyed it!

Hot Pick Podcast: Michael Albert, ‘How to shuffle badly’

Here’s something to think about the next time you play cards... Professor Michael Albert’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture ‘How to shuffle badly’ explains and demonstrates card shuffling. Prof. Albert shows the link between complex permutations and how good or bad shuffles affect the randomisation of a deck of cards! Click here to watch

And then, join us on Facebook for some after-shuffle discussion!

Evolution of the Body Snatchers

Still with our Science theme... mark Wednesday 23 October in your calendar, for Professor Robert Poulin’s 2013 Distinguished Research Medal Lecture: Evolution of the Body Snatchers.

Prof. Poulin, from the Department of Zoology, will discuss his research into the “bizarre yet sophisticated” adaptations that parasites have made in order to exploit their animal hosts, as well as the crucial role that parasites play in natural ecosystems.

“I hope that the talk will entertain the audience as well as convince them that parasites are more, much more, than creepy little creatures, but instead are incredibly fascinating and important components of the natural world,” Professor Poulin says.

As this year’s recipient, Prof. Poulin will be presented with the Distinguished Research Medal at the lecture. Come along to this event in Burns 1 on Wednesday 23 October, at 5.30pm.

Afterwards, don't forget to join us on Facebook and let us know how you enjoyed it.

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.


Student flats, food and gender stereotyping

Student flats, food, and gender stereotyping… Dr Shelagh Ferguson of the Department of Marketing investigated this topic, and found that the female flat in the study ate more vegetable-rich meals without much meat, while the all-male flat ate meat every night. Two flats were videoed preparing and eating food, and the researchers also looked at what food the participants ate in front of the opposite sex. The results found that there was in fact quite a bit of gender stereotyping involved in the flatties’ food choices.

The study showed that for the male flat, meat was the most important part of a meal, with everything else being a complement - while for the female flat, “taste and healthiness was everything”. The males indicated no interest in the nutritional value of their food choices, and their portion sizes were larger.

Female students, by contrast, said that they would change their food choice on a first date, eating less and more ‘daintily’ to appear more feminine - as well as choosing what they saw as more ‘feminine’ food, such as salad. The study also indicated that this was a self-perpetuated stereotype, with the males saying that a date’s food choice was “just not an issue”.

Click here to watch the flatties involved in this interesting study...

What was your flat shopping list like? Were there regular ‘must-haves’ on it? What foods did you treat yourself to in your scarfie days? Join us on Facebook and share your memories!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.




Hot Pick Podcast: Ted Ruffman, ‘Social Understanding: Development across the human lifespan and in dogs’

This week’s Hot Pick Podcast is still in our ‘Science theme’, and this time the science is Psychology…  This week we’ve picked Professor Ted Ruffman’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture, ‘Social Understanding: Development across the human lifespan and in dogs’. 

If you want to know more about theory of mind, emotional recognition, and whether dogs are really empathetic (this is especially interesting!), then tune in by clicking here!


ScienceTeller Festival programme is up!

Planning on attending the ScienceTeller Festival later this month? Good news! The festival programme, and the programme for two days of public film screenings, is now up on the ScienceTeller website.  (Click on the website's “2 Day Film Screening” link to see the film programme!)

And of course, don't forget to join us on Facebook afterwards to give us your after-film thoughts!


Cuban art exhibition: Humor from my Pen

Cuban political art is now on display in the Faculty of Law. Humor from my Pen is an exhibition of political cartoons by Cuban artist Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, featuring 30 satirical works on the topic of US/Cuban relations. The exhibition opened last week, with invited guests including Her Excellency the Cuban Ambassador to New Zealand María del Carmen Herrera Caseiro, as well as the Mayor of Dunedin, members of the local Hispanic community, University staff, and students.

Gerardo Hernández Nordelo’s artwork has been published in the Cuban media and is in galleries around the world. Nordelo is also one of The Cuban Five, a group of men arrested in Miami in 1998 under the accusation of conspiracy to commit espionage - his cariacatures reflect some of the politics surrounding  this experience.

The exhibition is co-hosted by the Faculty of Law, the Spanish Programme, and the Cuban Embassy in New Zealand – who opened the Cuba and New Zealand Friendship organisation in Dunedin just last week. The exhibition opening also celebrated the award of the Spanish Prize - won by Phoebe Harrop LLB/BA.

The exhibition is on the 10th floor of the Richardson Building. It’s open to the public Monday to Friday from 8.30am – 5.00pm, and runs until 24 October. Come along and have a look!

Thanks to the Otago Bulletin for this story.


Maya Open Lecture Series

If you’ve been going to the Maya Lecture Series, then don’t forget the final lecture by Professor Norman Hammond is tomorrow (9 October) at 5.30, in the Archway 1 lecture theatre. Prof. Hammond, Otago’s 2013 De Carle Distinguished Lecturer, is a world authority on the ancient Mayan civilisation.

This final lecture in the series is titled ‘Discovering the Maya: Reading the record’… come along and learn more about the archaeological discoveries being made about these ancient peoples.

Join us on Facebook afterwards and let us know how you enjoyed it!


Hot Pick Podcast: Dirk de Ridder, 'To dream is to cure phantoms'

Phantom pain, phantom sound (otherwise known as tinnitus), and dreaming! If you missed Dirk de Ridder’s Inaugural Professorial Lecture, you can catch up on it in this week’s podcast. Prof. de Ridder discusses his groundbreaking work in this remarkable area of neurosurgery and neuromodulation... covering dreams, philosophy, how the brain works as a 'prediction machine', and more. Click here to watch the lecture…

The ODT also covered Dirk’s lecture, and you can read the article here. After that, check out the Otago Magazine... Dirk is the cover story!

'Post-lecture', come and join us on Facebook... let us know what interested you the most about this fascinating talk.



Ritchie Memorial Lecture 2013

Interested in the topic of anaesthesia? This year’s annual Ritchie Memorial Lecture is by Assoc. Prof. Timothy Short, speaking on ‘A Brief History of Anaesthetic Depth’. Come along to the Barnett Lecture Theatre on Monday 14 October at 5pm!

The Ritchie Memorial Lecture is organised in memory of Assoc. Prof. John Ritchie (1909-1976), one of Otago’s leading clinicians and teachers, and former Director of the Department of Anaesthetics. 

Reaching Out: 100 years of Otago Physio graduates

Reaching Out: Celebrating 100 years of Otago Physiotherapy Graduates, 1913-2013 opens today! Come along to the de Beer Gallery on the first floor of Central Library and see this exhibition, highlighting the national and international contributions that Otago Physiotherapy graduates have made, helping to improve people’s lives. The exhibition runs until 13 December, Monday to Friday (and if you can’t make it down to the library, it will eventually go online, so keep an eye out for that!).

Join our Facebook event page for this celebratory showcase of Physiotherapy graduates past and present.    

ScienceTeller Festival is coming!

The ScienceTeller Festival is coming! From 25-27 October, the Centre for Science Communication is celebrating Storytelling and Science, dedicating an entire festival to documentary filmmaking, writing, and creative media. As alumni, come along to the screenings, events and workshops! On the programme are the world premieres of films by graduating Science Communications students. See the programme on the Centre for Science Communication’s website:

For a taste of what’s on the menu, check out the SciTell website to watch some short punchy talks… ‘dirty dancing’, asteroids, and the fallacy of rationality… filmed in front of a live audience!

We’ll link you to the full programme of the graduating student film premieres when it goes online. (And remember to visit us on Facebook to share your ScienceTeller thoughts!)


Reflections of a High Flying Kiwi

Dr Annmarie Oien is an alumna of Otago’s Department of Physics who now works at Lockhead Martin Space Systems in Colorado. She’s back here at Otago this Thursday 26 September, to talk about how her Otago PhD prepared her for her job in Colorado, and for the US laser research programme.

Come along to the Archway 4 lecture theatre at 12pm to hear her story – there’s even a “Top Gun moment”!


Hot Pick Podcast: Professor Jon Waters, Inaugural Professorial Lecture

Science is on the menu this week, and this week’s podcast is ‘Discovering Prehistoric New Zealand’ - Professor Jon Waters' Inaugural Professorial Lecture. In this lecture, Jon discusses genetics, DNA, extinction and recolonisation in New Zealand… including prehistoric sealions and penguins. You can also find out why we have Australian penguins in Otago (there’s a joke in there too)... ‘Tune in’ and be there now!

Click here for the podcast, and join us afterwards on our Facebook page!


Science smorgasbord

Next week is the first ever Genetics Week! Join in the genetics celebrations, and come along to hear public lectures by Otago's top researchers and international guests. Teacher workshops and a special ‘DNA Day’ at Otago Museum are also on the menu. The week promises to be fascinating!

See the Genetics Otago website for more details.




Hot Pick Podcast: His Holiness the Dalai Lama

This week’s hot pick podcast! His Holiness the Dalai Lama in conversation with Sir Lloyd Geering. Here at Otago, His Holiness talked about his childhood, training and education, Buddhism, science, secularism, and religion. This one is a must-see!

Click here to watch the podcast, and then join us on Facebook to share your thoughts!


Hanami celebrations

Just this Thursday, the Japanese Programme hosted their annual Hanami Cherry Blossom viewing party outside the Clocktower. To celebrate spring and the arrival of the blossoms, there were Taiko drumming performances from the “O-Taiko” drumming group, Karate Kata, sushi, and drinks. The dress code was silk or cotton Japanese dresses, Kimono, and Yukata.

Organised by Haruko Stuart, the celebrations were an opportunity for staff and students to experience a popular Japanese event, and for the wider community to learn about other cultures and languages – all through a fun get-together.

In Japan, Hanami is the custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, especially cherry blossoms - which are known as sakura. Springtime and the sakura that it brings represents new life and the beginnings of something positive – with spring being the start of a new semester, and a new fiscal year. And each year, viewers (especially those who are planning events), carefully watch the weather bureau’s blossom forecast.

Hanami celebrations have been running informally at Otago for many years, and this year was the second official event, organised through the Department of Languages and Cultures.

The blossoms outside the Clocktower are definitely a sight to see right now!


See our videos and photos of the Hanami celebration on our Facebook page.

Thanks to Haruko Stuart and the Otago Bulletin.


Hot Pick Podcast: The Honourable Michael Kirby

Faculty of Law: The Honourable Michael Kirby – Animal Welfare Law Reaches a Moment of Truth (237.86 MB)

In this week’s podcast, former Justice of the High Court of Australia Michael Kirby talks about animal welfare law. He discusses how he came to be more aware of animal welfare issues and the law – going beyond domestic animals to farm, circus and experimental animals, as well as the issue of corporatised slaughter. He also raises points on how lawyers can help to advance the interests of animals.

Click the title above to watch... and join us on Facebook for some 'after-lecture' discussion!


Honouring Dan Davin

Author Dan Davin, an Otago alumni, was honoured recently. A first-class Honours English graduate with an honorary Doctorate, Davin’s work often referenced Dunedin. The Southland Museum & Art Gallery has been running an exhibition to celebrate the writer’s 100th birthday, and the ODT’s Tony Eyre just last week pondered the possibility of honouring Davin with a plaque on the Octagon Writer’s Walk.

Check out the ODT article, complete with a photo of Dan Davin on the balcony of the Otago Staff Club. And read more about the birthday celebrations in the article from the Southland Times!

Have you read any of Dan Davin's work? Do you have memories of his time in Dunedin? Join us on our Facebook page and share your thoughts...

'54 degrees south' painting on display

Seen this magnificent painting yet? ‘54 degrees south’, by Peter Anderson, is at the main entrance of the University’s Central Library. It was donated by Sandie and Mike Legge in memory of their son Gordon - a former Otago student who died on Mt Tasman in 1996. Come on in to the library and view this incredible piece of art for yourself!

54 degrees south

Many thanks to the Otago Bulletin for the use of this item!

Hot Pick Podcast: In conversation with Mark Henaghan

We now bring you… our hot pick podcasts! ‘Tune in’ at your leisure, from where ever you are. You don’t have to be in Dunedin to keep learning!

This week’s hot pick is: In Conversation with Mark Henaghan (189.10 MB)

The Faculty of Law presents Professor Mark Henaghan (Dean of the Faculty of Law at Otago), in conversation with Professor Nicola Peart. Professor Henaghan speaks about his journey from University of Otago student to academic, to the Faculty of Law’s longest serving Dean. He discusses family law, judicial appointments, leadership and ‘The Human Genome Project’.

Click above to watch. Now, feel like some group discussion? … Join us on our Facebook page!

Otago Visitors’ Centre on the way

Otago is opening a Visitors’ Centre next year!

Designed to be a welcoming entrance to the University, the Centre will be a link ‘between town and gown’ – providing visitor information, campus tours for prospective students and their families, and for tourists. There’ll also be a gift shop, video and interactive displays, and direct, undercover access to the St David Café.

The centre will be located at the north-western side of the St David Lecture Theatre complex, and should be open for the start of the 2014 academic year.

Keep an eye out for more news on this… We hope you’ll come on in to visit!

Postgraduate Open Day 2013

The Link, August 20
10am to 4pm

Thinking of postgraduate study? Come along to Postgraduate Open Day!

Whether you want to further your career or follow your passion, Otago has some exciting postgraduate options for you.  At the Open Day, you can get your information directly from the department you’re interested in – chat to staff and current postgraduates, and find out more about what awaits you.

On top of that, you can listen to speakers from the University and beyond, who’ll be talking about the benefits of postgraduate study. In the Link, you can also visit booths representing over 70 areas of study, and see some student-designed posters showcasing the work that postgraduates are doing right now.

Talks from the Open Day will be available for download, so keep an eye on the Otago Alumni & Friends Facebook page for updates!

For more information on Otago's postgraduate studies, visit the postgraduate pages.

2013 University of Otago Winter Lecture Series

Come along to some fascinating free public lectures!  As part of the 2013 University of Otago Winter Lecture Series, speakers from Otago’s leading research centres are presenting on some cutting-edge topics that impact us all.

If you’re in Auckland or Wellington 14 August - 4 September, come and hear about the real-world benefits of research being done here at Otago!

On the programme…

  • Saviour Siblings & Criminal Genes: Law and Technology in the 21st Century. Associate Professor Colin Gavaghan,Director of Emerging Technologies, Faculty of Law
  • What’s our energy culture? Dr. Janet Stephenson, Director of the Centre for Sustainability
  • Teeth and the rest of you. Dr. Jonathan Broadbent, Senior Lecturer, Department of Oral Rehabilitation
  • Clearing the air – towards a smoke-free nation. Professors Janet Hoek, Department of Marketing, and Richard Edwards, Head of Department of Public Health.

Each lecture is followed by refreshments and an opportunity to meet the presenter.

Click below for more details on these exciting lectures!

Wellington programme

Auckland programme

... And visit our Facebook page to let us know how you enjoyed the event! 


Red Nose Day

Look what’s on the clocktower! We’re celebrating Red Nose Day…  Curekids founded Otago’s Chair in Child Health Research in 2002, and their enthusiastic support helps with research into severe conditions that affect children. Every dollar raised on Red Nose Day helps!

New service for alumni!

Announcing a new service for alumni!

Starting at the beginning of August we'll be bringing you live streaming and podcasts of talks by outstanding academic staff and distinguished visitors.

Now you don't need to live in Dunedin to gain access to the best that Otago has to offer. Watch out for regular updates on special lectures, talks and discussions on a host of topics that highlight issues of utmost relevance to today's world.

Our first podcast will be…

With Dr Azouz Begag

From Shantytown Kid to Government Minister: Equal Opportunities in France and New Zealand

Friday 2 August, 1pm

Raised in a slum, Azouz Begag is France’s best known writer of Algerian immigrant origin. Former Minister for Equal Opportunities, Begag is also a sociologist, novelist, and screenplay writer.  He is coming to Dunedin to tell his inspiring story. 

This open lecture in English will be opened by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Harlene Hayne.

Read more

You can view the podcast here


12th Latin American Film Festival - Dunedin

Prezados compatriotas,


Temos o prazer de informar que a 12ª edição do Festival de Cinema Latino-americano teve início em Dunedin em 30 de julho e se estenderá até 29 de agosto. O filme brasileiro “Colegas”, de Marcelo Galvão, será exibido hoje ( 1 de agosto),  às 18h30, no “The Terrace Bar” (6, Octagon, Dunedin). Entrada gratuita.


Dear Friends of the Embassy,


We have the pleasure of informing you that the 12th Latin American Film Festival has started in Dunedin on the 30th  July and will be on until the 29th of August. The Brazilian film “Buddies”, by Marcelo Galvão, will be screened tonight (1 August), at 6.30 pm, at The Terrace Bar (6, The Octagon, Dunedin). Free admission.


Veja a programação completa na página Facebook:

Please see the full programme on our Facebook page:


Aproveitem! Enjoy!


Cultural Sector


Leith in the Rain

It's pouring in Dunedin and the Leith is climbing higher and higher!

UK / London Lecture by Prof. Anne Smith

We are delighted to bring to your attention a lecture to be delivered by Emeritus Professor Anne Smith of the University of Otago College of Education on the implications of the New Zealand government’s legislative reforms targeting child abuse – see abstract below. The lecture is to be delivered under the auspices of the New Zealand-United Kingdom Link Foundation and the School of Advanced Study, University of London.

This event is free to attend and open to the public, and will be of particular interest to people working in Children’s Rights or Children’s Welfare. However, numbers are restricted so we recommend that you register your intention to attend at the link below.

Chair: Emeritus Professor Jane Fortin, University of Sussex
Respondent: Peter Newell, Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
RSVP: Click Here

Hosted by Kings College London
Wednesday 29th May
Arrive 17:30 for 18:00 Start
Followed by Reception
The Henriette Raphael Function Room at
The Guys Campus

For more information go to:
Contact: Liza Fletcher on with Special Requirements

We highly recommend this lecture from one of Otago’s most outstanding academics.

Kind regards,
Alison Finigan
Head, Alumni Relations


Abstract: Physical punishment is an assault on the rights and dignity of the child, a view supported by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which has persistently recommended its abolition. Social science research also suggests that physical punishment has many long-term negative outcomes for children. New Zealand was the first English-speaking country to change its law in 2007 to remove the “reasonable force” excuse for parental use of physical punishment. The lecture will outline the role of research and other influences (such as NGOs) on these reforms in New Zealand and the government’s failure to inform the public, and ask what lessons might have been learned that are relevant to other Anglophone countries.

How should we remember war?

There are many different ways to remember war, and war remembrance practices change over time. This Public Forum wishes to honour veterans and their memories of war while considering collective war remembrance in New Zealand. What veterans remember and what the nation remembers changes through time.

This forum is brought to you by the National Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies is being held Wednesday 24 of April at 5.15pm to 6.30pm at Archway 2

You can't curry love, but you can love curry - the Science of Curry is back !

In conjunction with the team from Little India and the Plant and Food Research team at the University of Otago the Science of Curry is being held on Wednesday March 6 at 6:30 pm (for 7.00pm start)at Little India, Moray Place.

The cost of the meal is $45 per head, and includes starters, main, naan bread, and a complimentary Kingfisher beer on arrival. Bookings are essential so please message us, e-mail or phone 03 474 9256.

The Sextet sing Christmas carols (with a message from the Vice-Chancellor)

Christmas greetings from the Otago Development and Alumni Relations Office. We thought you might enjoy this clip. All the best for 2013 


Watch the December Graduations via live streaming

December graduation ceremonies are available via live streaming

Watch the 25 August Graduation Ceremony via live streaming

You can watch the August graduation ceremony live via the University of Otago website from 3pm on Saturday 25th August. This ceremony will be taking place in the Regent Theatre, Dunedin.

“Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876” now available online

The exhibition “Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876” is now on at the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, Dunedin. It features rare books and maps from the Hocken Collections, the Science Library, Special Collections, University of Otago, and the Heritage Collection, Dunedin Public Library.

This exhibition is now also availiable online: please use this link, and spread the word:

Because there is a wealth of material and limited cabinet space, we have created a supplementary list of images at the end of the online exhibition of those we could not show. They are just too good to exclude. Gradually these will be added to, forming a greater resource for all those interested in Pacific exploration.

The creation of online exhibitions involves much effort and co-operation. Thanks go to Merrin Brewster (library web developer), John Hughes (reprographics, library), Tina Broderick, and Romilly Smith, for assisting in this process. The Hocken Collections, the Science Library, the Heritage Collection, Dunedin Public Library), and the Otago Museum deserve special thanks for the loan of items.  

Dr Donald Kerr, F.L.S.
Special Collections Librarian
University of Otago
P.O. Box 56
Dunedin, New Zealand
Phone: (03) 479-8330

University of Otago Centre for the Book:

Federation of Graduate Women Winter Lecture

Please join us on Tuesday 21st August at the Otago Museum’s Hutton Theatre for the annual Federation of Graduate Women Winter Lecture.

Professor Harlene Hayne is providing this year’s presentation.

Entry is by gold coin donation which will be donated to Professor Hayne’s charity of choice, the Salvation Army.

Lecture Poster

Award winning author and English alumna Alice Petersen visiting Dunedin campus

Talking about Writing

The University of Otago Centre for the Book is pleased to invite you to join us for a conversation about writing with award winning author and English alumna Alice Petersen ( BA(Hons), MA (Otago); PhD (Queen’s)).  Alice will be discussing her new collection of short stories,  All  the Voices Cry (Emeryville, Ontario: Biblioasis, 2012; ISBN: 978-1-92684-552-4).

Where: Central Library Staff Room, level 1 of Central Library
When: Tuesday, 21 August at 4:00–5:00 pm

Otago University to Hold First ANZAC Remembrance Service on Campus

This Anzac Day the OUSA along with the Otago University will be holding a special ANZAC remembrance, the first of its kind on the campus.

“It is going to be very special and unlike any other around Otago in that it will focus on opening the service to the next generation of our young people” said Logan Edgar, OUSA President.

The 1.30pm service on April 25th is driven by the young student who believes that this is a generation that wants to remember those who fought for the future of their families and their country.

“This is about remembering and thanking those who stepped up, left their families and travelled across the globe to risk their lives for the sake of others” said Edgar. “It’s about sacrifice, remembrance and hope. That’s something we need to be thankful for, and it’s an honour to hold an ANZAC service on campus.”

The service, which has been added to the RSA’s official list of events for the day, will be held on the Memorial Walk for students who fought in the Great War. The path runs along the water of Leith in front of the university registry’s clock tower, with a plaque marking the entrance to the walk from the Leith Bridge in central campus.

“It’s such an iconic path. Students and staff walk it every day and it’s used in promotion around the world, yet only a few know the meaning it holds” says Edgar. “We want to highlight the path so when people walk it they can do so with meaning, especially remembering those ANZAC’s from our own University who fought and gave their lives.”

A piper will welcome attendees and Mr. Edgar will begin the service with Lisa Pohatu, Tumuaki, of Te Roopu Maori. University Chaplain Greg Hughson will read the opening prayer. During the service, there will be one minute’s silence, the last post and a gun salute. Vice Chancellor Harlene Hayne will share a reading, and the speaker will be Lt. Colonel Mike Hunter.

The ceremony will be concluded by the laying of the wreaths by University staff and OUSA representatives.

All students, staff and public are welcome to attend and partake in refreshments after the completion of the service.

Otago alumnus Professor Terence Dennis accompanies Kiri for Prince Philip

An rare opportunity recently saw Professor Terence Dennis accompany Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in a private recital hosted by Prince Philip. (Otago Daily Times, 29 March 2012) Read more...

Ray Guns & Rocket Ships. The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection on now in the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago Library

In early December 2010, Fred Fastier, inaugural Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Otago, donated a 1200 strong collection of Science Fiction titles to Special Collections, University of Otago. This collection forms the basis of the exhibition ‘Ray Guns & Rocket Ships. The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection’, which begins in the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, on 23 March 2012.

During the 1920s Fred Fastier attended Arthur Street Primary, Dunedin, and it was there that he became interested in science fiction (SF). One of the first works he read was a magazine called Amazing Stories, which was edited by Hugo Gernsback, who, in his own stories, predicted RADAR and television. Two other novels remembered by Fastier included Erle Cox’s Out of the Silence, which involves the discovery of a gigantic, buried sphere, containing the accumulated knowledge of a past civilization; and Aldous Huxley’s classic Brave New World (1932). Collecting was begun in earnest when he was teaching in New York in the 1950s. This was when the McCarthy era was in full swing, dominated by anti-communism sentiment and the Cold War. As a professional scientist, Fastier preferred ‘hard-science’ SF rather than imaginative fantasy. What also captured his attention were the ideas and possible situations imagined by SF writers. As a consequence, Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Venus and Mars series did not rate, while writers such as Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke did. Fastier calls the latter ‘a good technologist’. Other authors favoured include H. G. Wells (his idea of tanks before WWI); Hal Clement (especially his A Mission of Gravity); John Wyndham (of Triffids fame); and Philip K. Dick, with his The Man in the High Tower. The collection also contains a large number of magazines such as Astounding Science (which he subscribed to), Galaxy, and Nebula, many of which feature classic short stories in the field.

The exhibition ‘Ray Guns & Rocket Ships. The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection’ begins in the de Beer Gallery, Special Collections, University of Otago, on 23 March 2012. It runs through to 15 June 2012. Hours: 8.30 to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday

Exhibitions are free and all are welcome

For further information, please contact Dr. Donald Kerr, Special Collections Librarian , University of Otago, Dunedin. or phone: (03) 479-8330

New Date for University of Otago, Christchurch 40th Celebrations Announced

The 40th Anniversary celebrations will now be held on 20-22 February 2013.  This is later than initially planned as the University's major building is still under repair after suffering earthquake damage.

As a prelude to the February 2013 celebrations the University will hold an Alumni Reception in Christchurch on Thursday 6th September 2012.  This event will start events rolling towards the 40th celebrations.

The celebrations will also be an acknowledgement of the impact of Canterbury earthquakes on staff and students, and recognising our bright future.

Read more about the 40th Anniversary celebrations...

Former Otago Vice-Chancellor & Otago Alumnus to Head Royal Society of New Zealand

Congratulations to Professor Sir David Skegg who has recently been appointed the next President of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Read more...

Opportunity for Alumni ... The Cranfield MBA NZ Alumni Scholarship

For details download the MBA NZ Alumni Scholarship brochure and visit

For further information please contact:
Pete Grogan
Head of Business Operations
AZUR Solar Systems Ltd

The Gentleman's Magazine: the 18th Century Answer to Google

Dear Colleagues & Friends of Special Collections,

In a break from teleporting sci-fi captions for my next exhibition (Ray Guns and Rocket Ships), I am pleased to announce that our current exhibition ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine: the 18th Century Answer to Google’ is now online.

Thanks must go to Merrin Brewster, our Web Developer in the Library, and John Hughes, Tina Broderick, and Amanda Hunter for working with the images.  

As a fan of the real thing, the exhibition is still on till 16 March and it is well worth visiting if you are in town.

And as usual, any comments on how we can improve our e-presence wd be appreciated.


Dr. Donald Kerr, F.L.S. 
Special Collections Librarian
University of Otago

New Development & Alumni Director

We welcome Philip Kearney as the new Director of Development in the Development & Alumni Relations Team at Otago. An Otago graduate himself Philip looks forward to meeting Otago alumni and sharing in the wide and varied stories and experiences that alumni have to share.

New Development & Alumni Director (p.3, Otago Bulletin, Issue 1, January 2012)

Contact Philip Kearney

Professor T. M. Devine, OBE (University Of Edinburgh) to Visit Dunedin

Professor Tom Devine is Scotland’s leading historian. In 2001 he was presented by HM the Queen with the Royal Gold Medal, Scotland’s supreme academic accolade, and appointed OBE in the New Year Honours List 2005 for services to Scottish history. He is the only UK historian elected to all three national academies within Britain and Ireland. He is not only renowned as a historian, but is regularly called upon to provide political and social commentary in the press and Scottish Parliament. His book The Scottish Nation briefly toppled Harry Potter from the bestseller list in Scotland! A recent reviewer in the Scotsman described Professor Devine as ‘the man who has done more than any to transform the way this country thinks about its past’, also noting, ‘I must say I have seldom heard any speaker being listened to with as rapt attention. In public, in private, his conversational style is the same: analytical, punchy, confident, forceful, persuasive.’

While in Dunedin Professor Devine will be giving the following talks and presentations:

The “Death” and Reinvention of Scotland

Saturday 19 November 2011, 4pm
Otago Settlers Museum

Entry by free ticket, advance bookings required
Email: or Tel: 4742728

The eighteenth century was an extraordinary period in the history of Scotland. This was the time of the dazzling intellectual achievements of the Scottish Enlightenment and the beginnings of the transformation of the country into the second industrial and urbanised nation on earth. Yet it was also a time of deep pessimism among several of Scotland’s intellectuals who feared for the ‘death’ of the ancient identity of the country within the Union state and the impact of anglicisation. Professor Devine’s lecture will explain why their concerns proved groundless and instead the ‘invention’ of Scottishness in tartanry, song, story, and myth proceeded apace.

The Lowland Clearances and the Scottish Exodus to New Zealand (followed by a book signing and wine/cheese reception with the Deputy British High Commissioner)

Monday 21 November 2011, 5.30pm
Dunedin City Library
Entry by free ticket, advance bookings required
Email: or Tel: 474 3690

Join Scotland's leading historian, Professor Tom Devine, OBE (University of Edinburgh), as he reveals the true scale of the 'Silent Clearances', and their significance for Scottish emigration to New Zealand in the nineteenth century. Personally signed copies of Professor Devine’s book will be available for purchase at the discounted rate of $45 (RRP $60).

Unveiling of the Sylvia Stewart Sculpture

Tuesday 22 November 2011, 2.30pm
Leith side of the Stadium, Dunedin

Join the Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society for this special unveiling. A stone taken from the Leith to Edinburgh and sculpted there by Sylvia Stewart is now located at the Edinburgh waterfront. The reciprocal sculpture is made from Edinburgh rock and is being unveiled on the Leith side of the Stadium in Dunedin by Professor Tom Devine, OBE (University of Edinburgh). For the exact location follow the sound of the pipes.

The Puzzle of Scottish Sectarianism

Tuesday 22 November 2011, 6.30pm
St Paul’s Cathedral, the Octagon, free event

Of all the jurisdictions where Irish Catholics and Protestants have settled across the world, Scotland is unique in 2011 in having an anti-sectarian strategy and laws thought necessary by the Scottish Government. This talk by Professor Tom Devine, OBE (University of Edinburgh), explores why this is so.

Professor Devine’s visit to New Zealand is made possible by the Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Otago, the Dunedin Burns Club, the Dunedin-Edinburgh Sister City Society, the Otago Scottish Heritage Council, and the University of Edinburgh. We are grateful for the support of the Dunedin Public Libraries, the Otago Settlers Museum, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Dunedin City Council.

For further information please contact

Invitation to a reading by Miriam Frank

Distinguished University of Otago alumna and internationally respected anaesthetist will be reading from her critically acclaimed, internationally published memoir My Innocent Absence.

Wednesday 9 November, 6pm
Room G30 A & B, Ground Floor, Hunter Centre, Great King Street (opposite the School of Dentistry), Dunedin

The evening will be introduced by Professor David Skegg and refreshments will be provided.

Copies of the book will be avaliable for sale and signing courtesy of USB.

For more information on the book and copies of international reviews visit My Innocent Absence on Facebook

History of Commerce explored in new book

A book exploring the teaching of Commerce subjects over the last 138 years has just been released. Emeritus Professor Lyall McLean has recently launched A History of Economics and the Development of Commerce Degrees at the University of Otago 1871-2009.

It traces the development of the field from a single Political Economy paper in a BA through to the multi-department Division it is now. It also includes the names of the Division's 19,000 plus graduates, listed by departments, and 101 photographs including the Professors, Deans, heads of departments and the first PhD graduates of each Department.

The book is available from the University Bookshop. It is also available online via the recently developed Otago University Research Archive (OUR archive), which has been created to provide public access to the University of Otago quality research outputs.

Are you an expatriate researcher living in Europe?

New approaches to the concept of researcher mobility suggest that expatriate researchers can still provide a valuable contribution to the national research sector, regardless of any intention to return.

FRENZ* (Facilitating Research cooperation between Europe and New Zealand) has launched a short online survey of EU-based New Zealand researchers in order to:

  • gauge the metrics of existing EU-New Zealand research collaboration;
  • achieve a better understanding of both the number and motivations for researcher mobility;
  • identify opportunities to better utilize the presence of New Zealand researchers in Europe with regard to enhancing collaboration;
  • identify further opportunities for cooperation in areas of mutual interest

FRENZ is inviting all EU-based New Zealand researchers to participate in this survey. For more information, and a link to the survey, please visit the New Zealand Research Diaspora in Europe website.

*FRENZ is a joint initiative funded by the European Commission (EC) and the New Zealand Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (MoRST), which works to enhance the engagement of the NZ research community with the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).

Claire Barton Farewells Dunedin

Singer Claire Barton (BA(Hons) 2002, MusB(Hons) 2006, MMus 2008) is leaving New Zealand at the end of August to begin study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music in London and is holding a farwell concert on 20th August in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Claire was the winner of 2007 Otago Daily Times Aria Contest; she sang at her own graduation ceremony in May 2008 and was named by NBR New Zealand Opera as the 2008-2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist.

We wish Claire all the best with her future studies and exciting career.

For information about Claire's farwell concert to be held in Dunedin on the 20th August, 2011, please visit Dunedin's Regent Theatre website.

University Tour Online

A recent performance tour of campus 'All that can be expected of a woman' is now available to watch on unitube.

The tour, which was written and directed by the University’s Coordinator of International Relations Sandy McAndrew, took its audience around the old buildings of the original University campus, meeting significant women (and some men) on the way.

For those who missed the live tour a short documentary-style film is now available to view.

Have your say - DCC's Economic Development Strategy Review

The Dunedin City Council's Economic Development Unit is reviewing its economic development strategy. This collaboration is between Dunedin City Council, Ngai Tahu, Otago Chamber of Commerce, Otago Polytechnic, Otago Southland Employers Association and University of Otago.

University of Otago alumni are invited to participate by completing the Dunedin Economic Development Strategy online survey.

Winter Lecture Series: Illuminating new knowledge

Discover the Otago phenomenon for yourself and come along to free public lectures on a range of relevant and challenging issues that affect so many New Zealanders.

Each Lecture is followed by refreshments and an opprtunity to meet the presenter.

The Forsyth Barr Stadium University Supporters Club is Launched

A unique opportunity has arisen for Otago alumni and staff to benefit from the development of the Forsyth Barr Stadium University Supporters Club, which entitles members to an exclusive personalised brick to be laid in the University Supporters Club wall or walkway, as well as access to complimentary tickets to scheduled matches in the Stadium. To find out more visit To register you will need an entry code, please email and we will send you your code.

For more information about Dunedin Rugby opportunities for Otago Alumni during September please visit our Dunedin Rugby Fever webpage.

KEA Earthquake Dinner Appeal, Beijing

In response to the earthquake and the enormous challenges facing the people of Christchurch as they go about rebuilding their shattered lives and city, Kea Beijing, the New Zealand community and its many friends in China invite you to support a fundraising event that will directly benefit the families of victims and a community in real need.

Date:   Saturday, May 14
:   6.30pm
Where:Renaissance Beijing Capital Hotel, 61 Dongsanhuan Middle Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Cost:   Individual tickets rmb 600, table of 10 rmb 6,000
RSVP: For more info and to register, click here.
There will also be a raffle and auction held on the night. Sponsored products or auction items will also be gratefully accepted!
For further information please contact KEA Bejing.

American Friends of Christchurch launched

A fundraising initiative targeted to Kiwi expats has recently been set up in the USA. The American Friends of Christchurch enables USA residents to give a tax deductible donation to assist the people of Christchuch. The University of Otago has agreed to help publicise this campaign. For further information contact Dr. Peter Watson

Professor Sir Paul Callaghan, New Zealander of the Year launches HEKE

Professor Sir Paul Callaghan has recently launched the HEKE (Heroic Educated Kiwi Expatriates) campaign  to raise $2 billion dollars from offshore to help New Zealand rebuild Christchurch. The University of Otago supports this initiative.

Sir Paul acknowledges that he was part of a luckier generation who didn't have to take out loans to study.  However he makes the case that anyone who can start to repay their student loan assists government revenue and the taxpayer contribution to the rebuilding of Christchurch.

Alumna Anna Leese performing in Dunedin

Otago's alumna Anna Leese will be performing in Dunedin on April 6 with the NZSO. For further information please visit the NZSO concert information.

London Film Screening of Donated to Science and Director's Q&A

Paul Trotman, Otago graduate and staff member, is in London for the showing of his film "Donated to Science".

This is part of the public education programme run by The Royal College of Surgeons of England and the screening will be held at The Hunterian Museum, Thursday 13th January 2011, 7:00pm.
It is a free event but booking essential by calling 02078696560.  More Information

Congratulations to those who have recently graduated

We extend a warm congratulations to all those who have recently graduated from the University of Otago and welcome them to Otago's alumni and friends community. A list of those who graduated in December 2010 is now on the Past Graduations section of the Alumni & Friends website.

Otago graduate Iona Mylek has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar

Congratulations to Iona Mylek (BA(Hons), 2009) who has been selected as a Rhodes Scholar. She will be heading to Oxford University, where she intends to study for a Masters in Global Governance and Diplomacy followed by a Doctor of Philosophy degree. See University of Otago News for the full story.

Upcoming Film Premiere - The Centre for Science Communication

The annual world premiere of The Centre for Science Communication student films is drawing closer.

Normally held at the Regent Theatre, which this year is being renovated, the event will be at the St. David lecture theatre complex. The films produced by the graduating class of 2010 will screen at 7pm on the 19th and 20th of November. The program will include a taster of our writing and popularising science students. Tickets are $5 and can now be purchased at the Centre for Science Communication. Door sales will be available on each night (if not sold out prior).

The Film Premiere flyer can be viewed here.

Commonwealth Gold for Otago Alumna

Congratulations to Alison Shanks (BSc, 2004; BCom(Hons), 2004) on her outstanding effort at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi powering home to win a gold medal for the 3000m women's individual pursuit cycling race.

For full coverage of the story visit

Register Now for the Home Science/CApSc Centenary Reunion and Conference




Bringing it Home: Remembering the Past + Feeding the Future
Centenary Reunion and Conference
Dunedin, 4th - 9th February, 2011


Registrations are now open for the Home Science/CApSc Centenary Reunion and Conference being held in Dunedin, February 2011.

For further information and programme details visit the Bringing it Home Reunion and Conference web pages.

The Otago Post - Issue 6

The latest issue of The Otago Post, a newsletter for those considering post-graduate study at Otago, is now out. Click here to view Issue 6.

Thinking of Postgraduate Study at Otago?

The latest issue of The Otago Post - an e-newsletter for those considering postgraduate study at Otago has just been released.

For further information on postgraduate study and to view the current and previous issues of The Otago Post visit

Register for a Postgraduate Information Evenings in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin at 

Eminent Alumnus Mr. Andrew Greensmith visits Dunedin for the International Science Festival

Melbourne based Otago alumni and world acclaimed plastic surgeon, Mr Andrew Greensmith, will be in Dunedin to give a keynote talk on the successful separation of conjoined twins, Krishna and Trishna, that he performed last year at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Andrew Greensmith graduated from the University of Otago in 1993 with a MB ChB.

You can hear Mr Andrew Greensmith give his keynote address – The Cutting Edge: achieving surgical marvels on Tuesday, July 6 at the St David Lecture Theatre, Corner St David Street and Cumberland Street. $10 per person.

Also as part of the International Science Festival the University of Otago invites you to come and explore the excitement of science at their expo Otago Feeds the Mind! on 9-10 July, 9am-5pm, at the St David Lecture Theatre Complex, University of Otago, Corner of St David Street and Cumberland Street.

For further details on the exciting list of events on during the New Zealand International Science Festival (Dunedin, July 6-11, 2010) visit

Commonwealth Graduates Convention 2011

The next Commonwealth Graduates Convention is being planned for March 5-9, 2011. This follows on from the very successful Millennium Convention held in 2001. The 2011 event is being organised and hosted by Hull University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The event aims to give all university graduates of Commonwealth countries the opportunity to network and forge alliances with fellow alumni. Graduates living in Malaysia and visitors from other Commonwealth countries will be warmly welcomed.

For further information visit the Commonwealth Graduates website

Pass It On New Zealand Has Now Launched


The PassItOn initiative is designed to give New Zealanders and friends of New Zealand, no matter where they are in the world, some extra incentives to start these conversations and a toolkit to help them tell a better story.

Rugby World Cup 2011 and a number of other high profile events in 2011 will create a unique opportunity for Kiwis everywhere to start a conversation about New Zealand. New Zealanders love to promote their country but all too often we talk about the same things – beautiful scenery, bungy jumping, sailing and the All Blacks.

Visit and do your bit to connect NZ businesses with the world! And win close to $300k in prizes.

Ministry of Education Recruitment Seminar for Alumni in Singapore, 24 April 2010

The Ministry of Education, Singapore is keen to invite Singaporean alumni from the University of Otago to explore a career in the education profession. We will be holding an exciting Recruitment Seminar in Singapore on 24 April 2010. This event is part of our outreach efforts to promote teaching in particular as a career for Singaporeans who have studied in prestigious overseas universities.

Calling all rugby fans – All Blacks v Wales, Saturday 19 June 2010


This is a very special year for Otago Rugby as we celebrate Carisbrook history with the final All Black Test Match.

The ORFU is offering Otago Alumni special access to their preferential booking system, and have extended the offer for a week beyond the standard deal. This means that OU alumni have until Friday 23 April to purchase their tickets before the open purchasing begins.

To take advantage of this special ticket offer, simply visit and locate the All Blacks v Wales ticket information page. From this page click the rugby family link and enter the password FAN. This will allow you to purchase preferential tickets for the last every All Blacks Test Match at Carisbrook.


Eminent Otago alumnus dies

Eminent Otago Alumnus Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Daud (BDS 1962) died in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday the 23rd of March after a courageous battle with liver cancer.

The Kuching-born Dr Sulaiman Daud came to the University of Otago in 1958, from Kuching, Sarawak under the Columbo Plan. He was among the first students to come to Otago from Malaysia and stayed at Carrington College in Tiro Moana House, graduating in 1962 with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery.

Dr Sulaiman Daud served as a dentist with the Sarawak government and the Brunei Medical Department in the 1960's.  In 1972 he started on a political career with the Malaysian Government including the positions of Minister of Education and Minister of Agriculture, retiring in 1999 after 27 years in government.  Until recently he was the Chancellor of the International Medical University, Malaysia.

Dr Sulaiman Daud has been honoured by his own country for the distinguished service he has given to education, health, economic development and international relationships. Included in his long list of honorary doctorates is an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Otago awarded in 1993.

He was a longstanding friend and supporter of New Zealand and the University of Otago.  In 1994 he set up the University of Otago Dr Sulaiman Daud 125th Jubilee International Postgraduate Scholarship (a prestigious postgraduate scholarship awarded annually to a student from Malaysia for study at Masters or PhD level). He was a patron of Otago's Malay Alumni Association and gave the graduation address at the University of Otago Kuala Lumpur graduation ceremony in 1997 (the first to be held outside of Dunedin) where he stressed that education is not merely the acquisition of knowledge but also the mixing with people.

His wife died in 2005 and he is survived by his four children.

Welcome to the latest recipients of the Alumni Annual Appeal Scholarships



Last week we were delighted to welcome the latest recipients of the Alumni Annual Appeal Scholarships, who are beginning their studies at Otago in 2010. Ten scholarships were awarded for this year, all made possible through the generosity of donors to the Annual Appeal. It was great to meet all ten scholars and witness their excitement about studying at Otago and their plans for the future. You'll be able to read more about these outstanding young people in the next issue of the University of Otago Magazine, due out in June.

From Alison's Desk - Visitors to Alumni House

In Alumni Relations it's all about people and over the past couple of weeks we've been very pleased to see a lot of old friends dropping by Alumni House for a visit. International visitors included Tan Sri Leo Moggie and his wife Liz from Malaysia, Brian and Pat Merrilees from Toronto and fellow Torontonians Allan and Santa Portis. From across the Tasman came Trevor Moyle, long standing and much appreciated Chairperson of Otago's Melbourne Alumni chapter, and Graeme Barnes, another Melbourne resident and chapter supporter. All of these are long time friends and talking with them brought me a renewed sense of what it means to be part of the alumni community, which seems to consist of a deep affinity to a particular place and time that resonates across the years and miles with a strength that doesn't diminish as time goes by. It's an intangible but very powerful force that gives me so much satisfaction in the work I do.

News from the Head of Alumni Relations, Alison Finigan

Welcome to our new website and Your Otago Link, designed to help alumni keep in touch with the University and each other.  After a protracted gestation period this baby was officially launched in December last year, and has already attracted quite a bit of interest from alumni in NZ and abroad, going by the hit reports I get each week.  A core group of departments and individuals was involved in the development of the application and throughout the coming year we’re intending to roll it out across the University until we get the widest coverage possible, so that all who are interested can participate.

Benefits include linking with other Otago alumni for assistance and introductions; information on events and reunions; access to podcasts; participation in networks; RSS feeds; and links to other university services like the Careers Office. You can also apply for your own @otagoalumni email address.  Please let us know what you think - we need your feedback to help this fledgling find its wings! I’ll keep you posted on developments as they happen. Meanwhile, happy networking…

Otago alumnus helped separate twins

University of Otago medical graduate Dr Andrew Greensmith, now a Melbourne-based plastic surgeon and consultant at the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital, played a leading role as part of the surgical team that recently separated the conjoined Bangladeshi twins, Krishna and Trishna.  Read more about the challenges of the landmark operation, which was the culmination of two years of painstaking medical preparation.


Otago researcher (and alumnus) honoured for vital work on fertility

University of Otago physiologist Professor Allan Herbison has been awarded the Health Research Council’s Liley Medal for “outstanding” research which could lead to new treatments for infertility. Read more...


University of Otago in global top 500

Five of New Zealand s eight universities are listed in this years influential academic ranking of world universities. The ranking, which put Otago, Auckland, Massey, Canterbury and Victoria in the top 500, was considered an important factor in the global battle to attract international students.  Read more.


Otago's link in the rise of University College London

University College London, whose provost is distinguished University of Otago graduate Prof Malcolm Grant, has now leapfrogged Oxford University to become the world s fourth-top university in the latest Times Higher Education rankings.  To read more.


The Otago Post - An E-Newsletter About Postgraduate Study at Otago

Welcome to the third edition of The Otago Post and to the opportunity to learn more about postgraduate study at the University of Otago.
Did you know that Otago has over 1,150 students enrolled in PhD study, over 620 enrolled for a thesis Master's degree and another 2,000 students enrolled in other postgraduate courses? This is good for Otago but it's even better for you if you're contemplating postgraduate study, because it offers you the chance to be part of a large, vibrant and dynamic postgraduate community with many opportunities to learn from each other as well as from our highly qualified academic staff.  Read The Otago Post newsletter here.


Otago Research Attracts $18m in Grants

Research that could help reduce excessive weight gain by women during pregnancy is among University of Otago study projects boosted by more than $18 million in an "outstanding" Marsden Fund round. For the fifth year in a row, Otago University has gained more Marsden research funding than any other institution in New Zealand. Read the full article here.


New Alumni Benefit for Travellers in London and Music Scholars

For 100 years the Royal Over-Seas League has offered travellers a home-base in London and Edinburgh and membership is available to Alumni members for just $50 per annum. This enables full use of their Clubhouse facilities and 80 reciprocal clubs throughout the world. The London & Edinburgh Clubhouses offer superb accommodation in London’s West End and on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

The ROSL has a long association with the University of Otago in offering scholarships and support to post-graduate students in the music and art fields. They will be bringing the Barbirolli Quartet, an international prize-winning ensemble, to Marama Hall this November for a performance and master-class prior to the annual ROSL/Pettman International Chamber Music Scholarship.

See  or email


Dunedin College of Education graduates

The merger of the Dunedin College of Education and the University of Otago was completed in January 2007. Since then the Development & Alumni Relations Office has been working hard to incorporate alumni records received from the Dunedin College of Education. As we amalgamate records, College graduates will begin to receive University of Otago alumni communications such as the magazine and event invitations.

If you are not currently receiving communications from us, please complete the online form to update your details. Please encourage your fellow College graduates to do so as well.


Gaining a Foothold

Gaining a Foothold has been published by the Friends of the Hocken Collections Inc, in memory of the late David McDonald, Hocken Library Reference Librarian from 1974 until 2000, whose dedication, enthusiasm, knowledge, helpfulness and courtesy endeared him to all users of the Library.

The Friends of the Hocken Collections, established in 1991, promotes public awareness and support for the Hocken Collections – the largest cultural research archive in Southern New Zealand – and all the proceeds from the sale of this book will be used for enhancement of the Collections.

Alumni Directory

World Map

Where on Earth are you?
Stay in touch. Update your profile, then search the directory for old friends and new contacts.

Otago Merchandise and Gifts

Otago memorabilia can be purchased at the Visitors' Centre or at the Online Shop

Scarfie Notes

Perpetual Scarfie

Attended lecture. Still uninformed, but on a higher level.

Choosing a flat up all those steps was a great idea until I had to shift my furniture.

Did you know the Richardson Building won an architectural award for modernism in 1983?

Double glazing installed in Dundas St flat. Students protest against gentrification.

Dunedin’s summer always occurs during exams.

Fish & chips contain all the important food groups: fat, salt, starch and crunchy bits.

I have located the missing tutorial notes. ALL IS WELL!

Icecream tastes so much better in Woodhaugh Garden.

It’s wonderful how Postgraduates reclaim the library between semesters.

Leith Street is the classy alternative to Castle Street.

My flat doesn’t have a fridge. Superfluous.

My lecturer thinks an hour of reading per night is reasonable. So do the other seven.

My new student ID card makes me look bright orange like Tom Jones. Apparently it’s not unusual.

North East Valley – it’s not just a place, it’s a lifestyle.

Stay warm with stripy thermal underwear. The stripes rub together to create heat friction.

Take a minute to read the graffiti on a library desk.

The Archway lecture theatre spins around and throws you out in the wrong direction!

World-leading Science faculty but still no cure for the Fresher Flu!