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Victoria University of Wellington

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Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington
Te Whare Wānanga o Te Ūpoko o Te Ika a Māui
Motto Sapientia magis auro desideranda (Latin)
Motto in English Wisdom is more to be desired than gold[1]
Established 1897
Type Public
Chancellor Ian D. McKinnon[2]
Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford[3]
Students 20,885 (2012)[4]
Undergraduates 16,787(2012)[4]
Postgraduates 4,829 (2012)[4]
Location Wellington,
New Zealand
Campus Urban

Victoria University of Wellington (Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Te Ūpoko o Te Ika a Māui) was established in 1897 by Act of Parliament, and was a constituent college of the University of New Zealand.

It is particularly well known for its programmes in law, the humanities, and some scientific disciplines, and offers a broad range of other courses. Entry to all courses at first year is open, and entry to second year in some programmes (e.g. law, criminology, creative writing, architecture) is restricted.

Victoria had the highest average research grade in the New Zealand Government's Performance-Based Research Fund exercise in 2012, having been ranked 4th in 2006 and 3rd in 2003.[5] Victoria has been ranked 265th in the World's Top 500 universities by the QS World University Rankings (2013).[6]


The original 1903 plan for Victoria University

Victoria is named after Queen Victoria, as 1897 was the 60th anniversary of her coronation. There was initially a dispute as to where to site it, and it opened in temporary facilities in Thorndon. It was eventually decided to place it in Kelburn, where it still has its primary campus. This decision was influenced by the Cable Car company's offer of a donation of £1000 if it were located in Kelburn so students would patronise the Cable Car from the city.[7] The foundation stone of the historic Hunter Building was laid in 1904. The original name was Victoria University College, but on the dissolution of the University of New Zealand in 1961 Victoria or "Vic" became the Victoria University of Wellington, conferring its own degrees.

An extramural branch was founded at Palmerston North in 1960. It merged with Massey College on 1 January 1963. Having become a branch of Victoria upon the University of New Zealand's 1961 demise, the merged college became Massey University on 1 January 1964.[8]

In 2004, Victoria celebrated the 100th birthday of its first home, the Hunter Building.

In recent years, Victoria has had to expand out of its original campus in Kelburn, and new campuses have been set up in Te Aro (architecture and design), Pipitea (opposite Parliament, housing the law, and business school) and Karori (education) – the Wellington College of Education, established in 1880, merged with the University to become its revived Faculty of Education on 1 January 2005.

General information

Victoria University of Wellington's Pipitea Campus: the Faculty of Law
Victoria University of Wellington's Pipitea Campus: the west wing of Railway Station
Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus: the Hunter Building
Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn Campus

Its main campus is in Kelburn, a suburb on a hill overlooking the Wellington central business district, where its administration and humanities & social science and science faculties are based. The law and commerce and administration faculties are in the Pipitea Campus,[9] near Parliament Buildings, which consists of Rutherford House, the restored Old Government Buildings, and the West Wing of the Wellington Railway Station. A smaller campus in Te Aro[10] is the base for the architecture and design schools. The Faculty of Education is in the Karori campus. The newest facility, the Victoria University Coastal Ecology Laboratory supports research programmes in marine biology and coastal ecology on Wellington's rugged south coast.

Day-to-day governance is in the hands of the University Council, which consists of 20 people: four elected by the Court of Convocation, three elected by the academic staff, one elected by the general staff, two appointed by the student union executive, four appointed by the Minister of Education, four selected by the Council itself, and the Vice-Chancellor. The Court of Convocation is composed of all graduates who choose to participate. Charles Wilson, at the time the chief librarian of the parliamentary library, was a member of the original council and its chairman for two years.[11]

For New Zealand residents entry to most courses is open, with a few exceptions. Performance Music requires an audition. There is selection for entry into the second year in degrees such as the LLB, BArch and BDes. BA in criminology and creative writing is also based on selection.

It is one of only three institutions (University of Auckland and Unitec being the others) to offer a degree in architecture in New Zealand.

In conjunction with Massey University it owns the New Zealand School of Music.

Coat of Arms

The blazon for the arms is: Vert on a fesse engrailed between three Crowns Or, a Canton Azure charged with four Estoilles Argent.

What this means: The colour of the shield is first described. Vert is green so the shield is green. A fess is a horizontal stripe across the shield and engrailed means the edges of the fess are wavy. The fess is between three crowns and or means gold so the crowns are golden. Conventionally with three objects two are placed above and one below, in this case, the fess. A canton is a square and azure is blue so a blue square is placed on the fess. An estoille is a star and argent is silver so there are four silver stars on the canton. These are supposed to represent the Southern Cross.

Crest: The crest sits above the shield and consists of a crown on which sits a Saint George.

Supporters: These are a lion and a Māori figure.

Motto: "Sapientia magis auro desideranda" which may be translated as "Wisdom is more to be desired than gold".

The modern depiction: The Coat of Arms has been redesigned as a corporate logo and are depicted in monotone only and usually in green. The crest and scroll with the motto have disappeared and what was left has been stylised rather than being depicted in the traditional heraldic manner.


The Library


The library[12] was established in 1899. The collections are dispersed over five locations: Kelburn Library, Law Library, W. J. Scott Education Library, Architecture and Design Library and Commerce Library. In recently years, while maintaining the traditions of print collections, the Library is developing its collection of digital resources with a focus on the acquisition of full text material online. In addition to electronic resources, printed books and journals, the Library also acquires works in microform, sound recordings, videos and other media consistent with the University's academic programme needs.[13]


The library holds approximately 1.3 million printed volumes. It provide access to 70,000 print and electronic periodical titles and 200,000 e-books. It is an official Depository Library (DL-296) of the United Nations System (DEPOLIB), one of only three in the country.

The J. C. Beaglehole Room is the official repository of all archival and manuscript material, and provides a supervised research service for Rare Books, for fine or fragile print items, and for 'last resort' copies of University publications. The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC) is a digital library of significant New Zealand and Pacific Island texts and materials. The collection is arranged according to the library of Congress classification system.

The library has two online repositores: the ResearchArchive is its open research repository, which makes the university's research freely available online and the RestrictedArchive, which is the university's private research repository; accessible only to Victoria University staff and students.[14]

Library cats

Between April 2003 and February 2010 the Library was home to two locally famous residents, Tessa Brown and Sandy Rankine, a pair of very popular library cats.[15]

Faculties and Schools

The faculties are:

For a full list, browse an A-Z List of Schools[24]

Research Centres and Institutes

Victoria has more than 40 research centres and institutes, including

To see more, browse an A-Z List of Research Centres and Institutes[25]

Students' Association and student media

Notable academics

Notable alumni

Orientation Week in the old campus hub
Graduation ceremony
Panorama of the view from the fifth floor stairwell of the Cotton Building, Kelburn Campus.

See also


  1. ^ Beaglehole, J. C. (1949). Victoria University College an Essay towards a History. pp. 60–61. 
  2. ^ Officers of Council
  3. ^ Vice-Chancellor
  4. ^ a b c "2011 Annual Report". University of Victoria of Wellington. 
  5. ^ Performance-Based Research Fund—Evaluating Research Excellence: the 2012 assessment, retrieved 12 April 2013.
  6. ^ "QS World University Rankings". 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Barrowman, Rachel (1999). Victoria University of Wellington 1899 ~ 1999 A History. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p. 25.  
  8. ^ "Massey University history". Massey University. Archived from the original on 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  9. ^ Pipitea Campus
  10. ^ Te Aro Campus
  11. ^  
  12. ^ the Victoria University of Wellington Library
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b Faculty of Architecture and Design
  17. ^ Victoria Business School
  18. ^ Faculty of Engineering
  19. ^ Faculty of Graduate Research
  20. ^ Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
  21. ^ Faculty of Law
  22. ^ Faculty of Science
  23. ^ Toihuarewa
  24. ^ Full list of VUW schools
  25. ^ Research Centres and Institutes

External links

  • Victoria University of Wellington's website
  • Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association
  • Victoria University of Wellington Library

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