University of New Zealand

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University of New Zealand
New Zealand University shield
Motto Sapere aude (Have courage to be wise)
Established 1870, dissolved 1961
Location Campuses all over New Zealand, senate located in Wellington, New Zealand

The University of New Zealand was New Zealand's sole degree-granting university from 1874 to 1961. It had a federal structure embracing several constituent institutions at various locations around New Zealand. In 1961, when it was dissolved New Zealand had four independent degree-granting universities and two associated agricultural colleges: the University of Otago (Dunedin), University of Canterbury (Christchurch), University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, Canterbury Agricultural College (Lincoln) and Massey Agricultural College (Palmerston North).[1]


The University of New Zealand Act set up the University in 1870.[1]

The University of Otago negotiated to keep its title of "university" when it joined the University of New Zealand in 1874, however, it agreed to award degrees of the University of New Zealand.[1] The colleges in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington were known as "university colleges" rather than "universities" throughout most of the history of the University of New Zealand, i.e. Canterbury University College, Auckland University College and Victoria University College.

The Universities Act of 1961 dissolved the university and granted degree-conferring powers to the constituent Colleges.[1] The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee assumed certain administrative functions exercised by the University Grants Committee[2] which in turn assumed some functions of the University of New Zealand on its demise.[1]

Entrance to the University[edit]

The University used to set its own entrance examination and also used to award scholarships to financially assist study.[3][4] When the university was dissolved matters concerning entrance to New Zealand universities became the responsibility of the Universities Entrance Board, a subcommittee of the University Grants Committee.[1] The Universities Entrance Board was in turn amalgamated into the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in 1990.[5]

Other use of the name[edit]

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, founded in 1984, used The University of New Zealand as an English translation of its name, although it had no connection with the former University. After objections from bodies such as the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee (the heads of the universities) and the Ministry of Education over illegal use of a protected word (in this case, university) and thus possible misleading advertising,[6] the effective co-branding of the wānanga was phased out. The institution is formally registered as a wānanga, one of five types of Crown-owned tertiary institutions under New Zealand law — the others being universities, colleges of education, specialist colleges, and polytechnics.[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f McLintock, A. H., ed. (1966). "Education, University–University of New Zealand". Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2006-06-21. 
  2. ^ "About NZVCC". New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee. Retrieved 2006-06-21. 
  3. ^ Thomas, W.; Beeby, C. E.; Oram, M. H. (1939). Entrance to the University. New Zealand Council for Educational Research (1939). p. 25. Dewey 378.931. The Entrance or Matriculation Examination has been a 'standard' examination given by the University to make certain that its entrants are ready, in its opinion, to pass into the University. 
  4. ^ Parton, Hugh (1979). The University of New Zealand. University Grants Committee, New Zealand (1979). pp. 85, 98. ISBN 0-19-647973-8. A universal matriculation examination conducted by the University was a natural part of its external examination system and was introduced in 1879… While it was the entrance examination of the University which influenced most strongly the curriculum of the secondary schools… the entrance scholarships which the Senate established in its earlier years had at least as great an influence. 
  5. ^ "Breaking new ground". QA News: Ten Years On—The Work of The Qualifications Authority. October 2000. Retrieved 2006-06-21. [dead link]
  6. ^ Milne, Jonathan (23 January 2005). "Wananga faces lecture over university claims". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2006-03-21. 
  7. ^ "Education Act 1989 No 80 (as at 01 February 2011), Public Act. Part 14: Establishment and disestablishment of tertiary institutions, Section 62: Establishment of institutions". Education Act 1989 No 80. New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office/Te Tari Tohutohu Pāremata. 1 February 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Alphabetical roll of graduates 1870-1961 by the University of New Zealand (c1963, Whitcombe & Tombs, Wellington) (List of Alumni) scanned PDF
  • The University of New Zealand: an historical study by J. C. Beaglehole (1937, New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Wellington; Educational Research Series, No 3)

External links[edit]