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Category Archives: Dunedin

International Women’s Day – a look at the past, present and future of women at Otago.

International Women’s Day, the mere idea of this notion would have been considered ridiculous 150 years ago during the early days of Otago University.  I think it is important on a day like today for everybody – men and women, to remember the women that came before.  The women that literally paved the way for the women of today, and opened up doors that had been closed shut and bolted to women for time immortal.  Today’s blog focuses on just a couple of these remarkable women (there are so many to mention), from the past, the present and is a reminder for the future that whilst we are still not yet on an equal playing field, much has been done and the collective attitudes of men and women including perceptions and behaviour can make a difference to future generations.

Caroline Freeman

You just cannot go past a discussion on International Women’s Day at the University of Otago without mentioning Caroline Freeman.   In 1878 Caroline Freeman became the first matriculated woman to enrol at the University of Otago.  At this time she lived in Green Island, which in those days required her to walk 11 kilometres after lectures in a long dress, through muddy wet tracks.  Her health suffered as a result and she was forced to find accommodation in Dunedin.  Her academic environment also proved to be hostile with Professor of Classics G.S. Sale, known to be a ‘veritable ogre’ to female students.  A staff member once commented that had Freeman been a fighting man, rather an a studious woman, she would have been merited for her ‘pluck and perserverance.’  Caroline Freeman graduated in 1885, to a large applause with flowers thrown across the stage, and by the time of her capping 11 more women were enrolled at the university at different levels.   Recognition of her courage, perserverance and passion for education was highlighted when the University of Otago named one of their residential colleges after her – Caroline Freeman College.  

Emily Siedeberg

Next up on our list of those who paved the way is Emily Hancock Siedeberg.  From an early age her father believed she should train as a doctor, she accepted this and the pair went through the process of enrolling her.   Although the university council had already decided that medical training should be open to both women and men, her decision was certainly not celebrated – some showed enthusiasm while others were openly hostile.  The dean of the Otago Medical School Dr John Scott was reluctant, but alongside other staff accepted the university’s decision so that in April 1891 Emily became a medical student, graduating in 1896 as New Zealand’s first woman medical graduate.  During her time as a student she was told not to show her feelings, to keep men at a distance and not be frivolous.  She went on to complete a BSc, and did postgraduate work in obstetrics, gynaecology and children’s diseases.  In 1898 with considerable financial support from her father she registered as a medical practioner and set up private practice in Dunedin, which she maintained for the next 30 years.

Ethel Benjamin

Ethel Benjamin was New Zealand’s first woman lawyer – and we have to mention here that the University of Otago was the first university in Australasia to permit women to pursue a law degree – I don’t know about you, but permit?  Seriously?  It seems crazy now.  This really shows how much these women had to fight for what is taken as a given today.  Benjamin graduated with an Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in July 1897, and at her graduation she made the official reply on behalf of the graduands. This was the first time a current graduand rather than a past graduate had made the speech, and it was also the first occasion any woman had made an official speech at the university.

However the Otago District Law Society did not take kindly to a woman entering their male dominated profession.  Discrimation against her included restricted access to the society’s library, an attempt to propose an alternative dress code to the wig and gown, her complete exclusion from annual bar dinners and whereas young members were usually offered support, she received little.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago – Professor Harlene Hayne

It is 2019 and the year that the university celebrates 150 years of education and achievement.  When it comes to talking about present women at the University of Otago we cannot go past the fact that the Vice-Chancellor of our university is a woman.  Effectively she is at the top of the food chain here, well above my rank and station, so I decided that Professor Hayne could probably address her own thoughts on International Women’s Day herself, in her own words, this excerpt was taken from the VC’s Comment –  Issue 42. of the Otago Magazine:

Since my appointment as Vice-Chancellor in 2011, much has been made about my gender. I was the first woman to lead the Psychology Department at the University of Otago and the first woman to become a Deputy Vice-Chancellor. I am the first woman to be the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Otago and only the second woman to become a Vice-Chancellor in New Zealand.

Every time the issue of my gender is raised, however, it takes me by surprise. In the course of my own academic career, my gender has never been an issue. I have never felt that people have expected less of me because I am a woman, and I never felt that a glass ceiling prevented me from pursuing my goals and aspirations.

When I was growing up, my father used to tell me that girls could do anything. At Otago, I have certainly found that to be true. In this way, my own career has been remarkably gender blind.

But I recognise that the privilege of gender blindness is due, in part, to the historical period in which I live and to the places in which I have been lucky enough to grow up, study and work. I know too that I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those women who came before me.

As a university, we have a very proud history when it comes to women.

Dr Carla Meledandri

Dr Carla Meledandri from the Department of Chemistry is an expert in nanoscience, the world’s smallest particles, working at a scale of billionths of a metre.  But don’t be fooled by her tiny content, she and her colleagues are looking to tackle the world’s largest problems – ranging from dental decay to climate change.

“Pushing the boundaries of fundamental research is vital – taking what we have found and applying it to solve problems follows on.”

Her expertise in nanoscience, working at a scale of billionths of a metre, helped win her the 2017 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize, the latest in a series of research awards.

Interdisciplinary collaborations with the Faculty of Dentistry have enabled the development of new materials designed to treat some of the causes of oral disease rather than the symptoms, hopefully leading to reduced costs and improving health worldwide.

The Future?

What about the women of the future?  The young women like the ones pictured above who are exploring the world, educating themselves and finding out what makes them tick?  Well, their future (and those of us who are somewhat further down the life journey) is down to all of us, men and women.  We must learn from the past – celebrate success, challenge stereotypes, support each other, don’t accept pay inequality and not settle for anything less than our male counterparts, and that takes all of us.  It’s all about balance.   Happy International Women’s Day!

Special note to Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand for much of the historical content.

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Top 7 eateries around Otago University!

Food, glorious food…..it is something we all need and hopefully enjoy, and no longer is today’s consumer happy with something that is bland, boring and and tasteless……today’s consumer demands fresh, innovative food and really good coffee……so what is available to you within 5 minutes of the University of Otago campus?  I went for a bit of a stroll today to let you see the food outlets that we think are worth a mention.

Te Mātiti

Te Mātiti is the University of Otago’s new kid on the block.  It is located in the newly refurbished Otago Business School, and offers a range of food and coffee prepared by the University Union, our in house catering and food suppliers.  It’s a pretty awesome space within the large open plan ground floor of the business school and large glass windows that look out to the Leith river below make it feel light and airy – plus, they’re a friendly bunch that work here.  The University of Otago operations manager was recently awarded  a special He Toki award for introducing bilingual signage so that you can order your coffee in te reo – from a mowai (flat white) to a ratei tiai (chai latte) at Te Mātiti and seven of the nine cafes on campus!  Ka pai!

Sushi Station

Slightly reluctantly the lovely owner of Sushi Station agreed to let me take his picture……he is always on hand with a smile and to open the door for you, and ensures that there is a steady stream of food coming from the busy kitchen.  Sushi Station is located on Albany Street, directly opposite our central library and popular choices to takeaway include rice balls, bento boxes, dumplings and pokē bowls.  But if you’re wanting something a little more substantial, they have a hot menu that, not that we are into naming names, is very popular with Highlanders Rugby Team and the Volts (our cricket team) players and management and you will often see them dining in at Sushi Station.  The decor is cute, with little flower boxes in the window and the queue often extends out onto the footpath, a clear sign this little business is a winner.

Formosa Delight

Like quite a few things in our little city, Formosa Delight is a very humble looking little cafe from the outside – but do not let this appearance deceive you.  Staff and students alike flock to this little cafe in Albany Street that serves up predominantly vegan or vegetarian Taiwanese food.  The herbs, salad greens, kale and garlic chives are grown by owner Beatrice Lin (pictured here) in her large organic garden, the eggs are from her free range hens, plus all the food served by Beatrice and her husband is made from scratch.  I have had the pleasure of dining here and I can definitely recommend paying this quiet little eatery a visit.

Fluid Espresso

This is another favourite for staff and students, just a block from campus and you’ll find this little stunner.  Again, another passionate group of people at Fluid Espresso making the food predominantly from scratch with super fresh ingredients.  INCREDIBLE cabinet selection of beautiful sweet treats, but also a really good range of fresh salads, wraps and bagels.  Pictured here are their smoothies, and if you’re a coffee drinker apparently these guys know how to make a good brew.  They also stock a few small gift items and the space is beautifully decorated and accessorised without being intimidating.  Again, awesome and friendly service.

Dispensary Cafe

One of Dunedin’s little hidden gems, this tiny cafe could easily be missed if you didn’t know it was there, but the locals know all about it and you’ll see a busy line of people buzzing in and out throughout the day.  Again located on Albany Street, the Dispensary Cafe is fresh, great scones (apparently you have to get in early) and slices, light and airy and by all reports provides great coffee……I am not a coffee drinker so I can only go on the feedback of others – my colleagues in the office next door are hooked on the stuff, so if they go there, it must be good.

Food Trucks

You’ll find a range of food trucks in Dunedin both on campus and dotted around the city, including these guys ‘Jian bing’ who serve a Chinese savoury crepe, they’re neighbours to ‘Rising Sun Dumplings’ whose $6 for five pork or vegetarian dumplings and fried rice have fuelled many a student during their time at Otago.  Plus, Hussey & Laredo are currently around the corner in their sunny yellow caravan and serve up coffee, and locally sourced produce to make their gorgeous haloumi bagels amongst other things.  Citizens Food Truck regularly parks up on the museum reserve serving bao buns and loaded fries – yup they’re loaded alright, with cheese or gravy.

The Good Earth Cafe

Another little cafe that attracts the staff and students of the university, the Good Earth Cafe is housed in a typically Dunedin styled old historic building.   Once again this cafe provides a warm, friendly vibe and offers a range of organic, free range and made from scratch food.  It has little tables for days like today when the sun is shining and provides a comforting country style/home atmosphere with vases of fresh flowers laid out on the mismatched vintage wooden chairs and tables.

So there you have it, the top 7 places to eat around campus, but don’t take our word for it, try them yourself.  We have only scratched the surface on eateries in Dunedin, and we will take you on another food journey in a later blog, but rest assured if you are a student or staff member at the University of Otago there is a range of options to satisfy whatever your taste buds are after.

Thanks to Dunedinnz.com for imagery and content on Formosa Delight.

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

 

Recreation at Otago = Unipol.

If you’re new to the University of Otago you will hear people talking about Unipol.  No, it’s not some undercover university police operation……Unipol is a very weird name…..it is an amalgamation of the university and the polytechnic and it doesn’t give you any idea of what it is all about….. but let’s not worry about the name, I don’t think it will be changing anytime soon, let’s focus on what Unipol is all about, because there is a LOT to talk about!

What is Unipol?

Unipol is the University of Otago’s recreation centre.  And it is some centre. Unipol Recreation Services offers a huge choice of recreational activities, including cardio and weights, sports halls, group fitness, outdoor rental, social sport and outdoor adventures.  Unipol is all about balancing your studies and keeping a smile on your face.

Prior to 2011, Unipol was housed in an awesome old art-deco building just a 5-minute walk from campus, but the demand for a bigger, and more up to date facility saw the creation of this amazing building, which is also home to the UOLCFY (University of Otago Language Centre and Foundation Year) and right next to New Zealand’s only covered stadium – Forsyth Barr Stadium.  Our stadium raises the roof by hosting international sporting events, including our famous All Blacks, and a range of world class entertainment, including Pink, Kendrik Lamar, Elton John (who loved it so much here he’s coming back on his final tour) and Ed Sheeran.

Who can use Unipol?

Entry into the Unipol Recreation Services is free for University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students with presentation of their ID card.

It is also available for use by University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic staff and their whānau and friends.

 University approved recreation providers

Get in touch with your inner explorer, venture beyond campus and experience the natural beauty that Dunedin has to offer with a variety of outdoor adventures from local University approved recreation providers. Be sure to use your valid student ID card to get special student discounts!

Surfing

This mobile surf school based at The Esplanade, St Clair Beach, offer learn to surf sessions for beginners through to advanced lessons for those wanting to extend their local knowledge. Your wave is waiting!

Esplanade Surf School

Walks

A variety of walking excursions around Dunedin, the peninsula and surrounding coast lines. You will come across plenty of wildlife so bring your camera!

Untamed NZ Tour Company

Dunedin Adventures Ltd

Mountain biking

Love mountain biking? From sandy beaches to native forests Dunedin, and it’s surrounding area, have some amazing tracks to be explored.

Offtrack MTB Tours

Windsurfing/SUP

Experience the exhilaration and fun of windsurfing and/or stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on the beautiful Otago Harbour. It’s sure to blow your hair back!

Watercooled Sports

Ice hockey

Learn to play ice hockey, focusing on skating, puck handling, passing and shooting while having loads of fun.

Dunedin Ice Hockey

Sea kayaking

Picture yourself in a sea kayak cruising amongst Otago’s coastal wildlife while paddling around the beautiful Otago Peninsula. Get ready to see the unexpected.

Wild Earth Adventures

Rock climbing

Take a break from your study with a rock climbing adventure. Choose between an introduction course or advance your skills with some lead climbing!

Dunedin Adventures Ltd

Unipol staff – they’re a good bunch

This is Dan and Liz, two of the team that take care of all things Unipol and they are good sorts – they are pretty funny, smile a lot and enjoy life.  It’s probably because they follow their own advice and know how good exercise makes you feel, and I’m guessing they do a fair bit of it.  So take their advice, go into Unipol and see what you can find to put a smile on your dial.

Thanks to the Unipol website for providing a lot of the information contained in this blog.

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Orientation at Otago – a snapshot!

Whether you are a new or returning student one thing you all have in common is the chance to be involved in the celebrations, events and information sessions that make up the University of Otago Orientation Week!  From attending the Convocation Ceremony – the official and formal welcome to all first year students, to making the most of the star-studded line up of performances, there are plenty of opportunities for you to immerse yourself into the Otago culture and surroundings and along the way meet some like minded people.

Student Village and Tent City

This year we are running a Student Village on campus alongside Tent City in the Museum Reserve from Monday the 17th February through until Wednesday the 19th.

Find out about all the services, support and other opportunities offered by the University including:

Staff from StudyLink will also be in attendance.

University Collegiate Sports Day

During orientation week first-year students from residential colleges, Uni Flats, and the Locals programme meet en masse in a collegiate sports day, complete with chants, flags and uniform t-shirts, to participate in a fun-filled afternoon of social sport.

This is the chance to cement newly formed friendships and get involved in some healthy competition. Sports include touch, netball, soccer and volleyball.

Need some tips on how to succeed at Otago?

Along with course advice available throughout the week, there are also other information sessions aimed at helping you understand what university academic standards and expectations are, and how you can succeed!  Including sessions on how to transition into university successfully,  points for international students on how to succeed academically at Otago, and if you are an international student don’t miss our official welcome and lunch, on Wednesday the 19th February, the food and the kapa-haka performance are always a hit!  Plus we are always on the look out for student stories and if you’re interested in sharing your story, being an ambassador for Otago, or featuring on the cover of one of our international publications, come and see the International Office booth at the expo and talk to us!

OUSA Clubs Day

OUSA has a crazy amount of opportunites for you to try something new, meet new people or perhaps get together with students who have also come here to study from your home country.  With over 160 affiliated clubs and societies on campus you really can’t complain about a lack of options.   Head to Clubs Day on Thursday 20th February to find your fit!

Looking to be entertained?

If you’re looking for pure adrenaline, big crowds and fun, there are a variety of events to choose from, including performances from big name DJ’s and bands (the image above was taken at last year’s orientation) at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, NZ’s only covered stadium, and just a 5 minute walk from campus.  And as the picture below shows you, yes, the famous Toga Party still lives on.  And if you’re a lover of food, don’t miss the International Food Festival on Saturday the 22nd of February, a huge array of delectable delights from around the world are on offer for you to try.

So, what’s our advice to you?  Get involved, try something new, literally be like a sponge and soak it all up.  There are so many choices for recreation, new experiences, study advice and general help available to you, and we like to think we are a friendly bunch of people so always ask if you’re unsure!  Enjoy this special time in your life, as the text in the photo at the top of the blog says it’s a “once in a lifetime experience.”

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago.

How will I learn at Otago?

If you are a new student to the University of Otago you will no doubt have a lot of questions……..and sometimes asking questions is challenging…..so, we are going to try to explain a few things here on our blog, like how do you learn at Otago?  It might seem like a silly question, but trust us, no question is ever silly, and we have received a multitude of feedback from international students that suggests our teaching and learning style is different to other parts of the world.  So, how will you learn here?

The Lecture

This will be your main source of information and knowledge for the majority of your studies.  A lecturer, or a group of lecturers are assigned to teach each of the papers you are enrolled in.  Lectures are held in specially designed rooms and last for 50 minutes – and the information is presented to you (as pictured) with verbal commentary following   power point slides, printed material may be handed to you in class, including selected readings.  Sometimes it may be tempting to miss a lecture, or two……(it is a beautiful sunny day and you’d rather be at the beach) but we urge you to not make this a habit – you’ve paid a lot of money to get this education, so be smart and take all the opportunities you can, including turning up to lectures.

The Lab

If you are studying towards a science or health science qualification, on top of lectures you will get used to spending a lot of your study time in laboratories, like the newly completed Mellor Laboratories pictured here.  Here you will get the world renowned ‘hands on’  and practical learning style that we are so well known for here.  This isn’t just sitting back and taking information in, this is you doing it all by yourself (with the guidance of a staff member of course!)

The tutorial

The tutorial is again something that we are really well known for – it’s a chance for more opportunity to really interact with staff and your fellow students.  Tutorials, as opposed to lectures which can comprise of hundreds of students, are kept down to a smaller scale of approximately 10 students to one staff member.  This gives you the chance to get one-on-one assistance, and the tutorial is also used as a way to help figure out the best way to go about an assignment, or to put you into teams to work on your skills working with others.

Self directed study

Another fact you may not know about studying at the University of Otago is that our academics believe you need to be self motivated in order to succeed.  They can encourage, inspire and help, but ultimately you have to do the work.  Making sure that you plan time to do the readings and to get onto the assignments ahead of the due date.  Our tip?  Buy a wall calendar/planner to outline all of your lectures/tutorials/labs and assignment deadline dates, it will really make life easier.  It might sound a little dull, and something your parents might say, but we really do want these university years to be some of the best years of your life, so taking a little time to map things out will definitely help.

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Waitangi Day – a very brief history……

Since 1947, February the 6th has been known as ‘Waitangi Day’ a nationally recognised holiday in New Zealand – a day for relaxing, enjoying the warm summer sun, and a day off work for some.  But what is this public holiday all about?  What is Waitangi Day, and what is the history?  Today’s blog gives a very, VERY brief and layman’s outline of the background to the Treaty of Waitangi and the subsequent years since it was signed.  Many thanks to Mark Brunton from the Office of Māori Development for providing the background to this blog by way of professional development courses held at the University of Otago.

Maori – the indigenous people of New Zealand

Captain James Cook, the man attributed to discovering New Zealand in 1769 was not in fact the first person to discover New Zealand at all.  Maori are the indigenous people of our land, who had their own functioning society and structures prior to European arrival, but for how long Maori people had been living and thriving in New Zealand is a matter of debate – current understanding is that the first arrivals came from East Polynesia in the late 13th century. It was not until 1642 that Europeans became aware the country existed, and in 1769 that Cook mapped an outline of New Zealand and word spread of the land of lush forests, seal colonies and a good location for more trading opportunities. 

The arrival of the European settlers

Since Cook ‘discovered’ New Zealand word spread and over the next 70 years a rapid succession of European settlers descended upon New Zealand.  First the Whalers and Sealers in the 1790’s – whose interaction with Maori was peaceful, where both parties developed alliances – they would trade goods, marriages between Maori and European were not uncommon and an understanding of the different cultures and languages was recognised.  In the early 1800’s New Zealand was a stopover and supply base, and one where trades in muskets and war was rife.  By 1838 land speculators from Britain came to acquire land which brings us to 1840, the year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Treaty of Waitangi

The Treaty of Waitangi was enacted in 1840 between many, not all, Maori Chiefs and agents of the Queen at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands and across NZ.  There were three articles and three principles that pertained to the Treaty and they were all supposed to operate simultaneously – Partnership, Protection and Participation.  There was a Maori version and an English version.  The intentions behind the English version was to protect Māori interests from the encroaching British settlement, provide for British settlement and maintain a government to maintain peace and order.   The Māori version – the Queen’s main promises to Māori were to:  provide a government while securing tribal rangatiratanga and Māori land ownership for as long as they wished to retain it.  Over the course of the next 100+ years the Treaty of Waitangi and European settlement has been the source of war, repression, anger, and almost complete loss of the Māori culture, their land and way of life.

Key Perceptions

1856 – Dr Issac Featherston (Superintendent of Wellington)

“All we can do is smooth their dying pillow then history will having nothing to reproach us for.”

1859 – Te HeuHeu (Paramount Chief)

“As the clover killed the fern, and as the European dog the Māori dog, as the Māori rat was destroyed by the Pākehā rat, so our people will gradually be supplanted by the Pākehā.”

1859 – Mr F D Fenton (Observations on the state of the Aboriginal inhabitants of New Zealand)

“Predicted that by 1928, there would only be 19,041 Māori people left; and that by 1990, not a single Māori person would surive.”

Māori Protest/Government Redress

1975  Land march

Thousands of Maori and supporters marched on Parliament on 13 October 1975 to publicise the continued loss of Māori land. Whina Cooper led the march (hīkoi) that set off from Te Hāpua in the Far North on 14 September. The marchers’ demand was that ‘Not one more acre of Maori land’ should be alienated. The hīkoi raised public and official awareness of Māori concerns.

1975  Waitangi Tribunal established

The Treaty of Waitangi Act established the Waitangi Tribunal as an ongoing commission of inquiry to hear Māori grievances against the Crown concerning breaches of the Treaty. The legislation limited the scope of inquiry to grievances occurring after 1975, and it empowered the Tribunal to make findings of fact and recommendations only, not binding determinations.

1977  Bastion Point occupation

Protesters occupied Bastion Point (Takaparawhā) in Auckland in January 1977 after the government announced a housing development on former Ngāti Whātua reserve land. The land had been gradually reduced in size by compulsory acquisition, leaving the Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei tribal group holding less than 1 ha. Police evicted the occupiers after 506 days. Following a Waitangi Tribunal inquiry and recommendations, much of the land was returned to or vested with Ngāti Whātua.

There were also protests from 1978 about the use of Maori land at Raglan (Whāingaroa) for a golf course. The land was originally taken during the Second World War for a military airfield. It was not needed for this purpose, but instead of being returned to its former owners, part of the land was turned into a golf course in 1969. The land was eventually returned to Tainui Awhiro people.

Credit to nzhistory.govt.nz for the above timeline and to read more significant treaty timeline events.

Where to from here?

Whilst attending University of Otago professional development courses on Māori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi on offer (free) to all staff it is clear that yes, there has been much done to redress the wrongs of the past, but there is still a long way to go.

Thanks to the tireless work of many, the University of Otago has an Office of Māori Development.  Te Reo is now rightfully recognised as one of the three official languages of New Zealand.  The University of Otago has a Māori Strategic Framework and the number of Māori students at Otago is continually increasing due to the support both academically and personally that we have to offer.  However you choose to spend your ‘Waitangi Day’ enjoy, and perhaps this information might just tempt you to learn a little more about the history, culture and status quo of the indigenous people of New Zealand.

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Startup Dunedin……..what’s the story?

Dunedin is gaining a reputation for many things; wildlife, culture, food, street art, education and……..entrepreneurshipWe caught up with chief story-teller and Marketing Manager of Startup Dunedin, Angus Pauley about what they do, and where Otago students can get involved.  He’s very passionate about Dunedin and the start up community, so it comes as no surprise to us that this energetic and enthusiastic young man is one of our very  own University of Otago alumni!  Take it away Angus!

Angus Pauley from Startup Dunedin

How to make Dunedin thrive

Every successful startup ecosystem has certain components which help it thrive. We look at successful startup ecosystems to see what we can recreate, improve and support to give Dunedin the same level of success.

Dunedin at night, panoramic view from Signal Hill lookout shortly after sunset.

What does Startup Dunedin do?

Startup Dunedin is a non-profit organization which coordinates the growth of the Dunedin startup ecosystem. We serve Dunedin based founders by providing the connections, resources and support they need to succeed. This includes initiatives we run, and connection to the initiatives other leaders drive in our city.

Students are a key component

Students are a key part of the startups in our city. They might become founders themselves through a programme like Audacious, or work in a startup as a consultant, intern or employee. Although only some students carry on with the ventures they start at University, all of them use the opportunities and entrepreneurial learning as a springboard for their career.  So, how can students get involved?

Audacious

Audacious is a programme for students who want to build the skills and confidence to make a positive impact – whether they’re planning on working in a company, starting their own business or still figuring it out.

Each cohort runs semesterly and consists of a series workshops, culminating in a pitch evening for a cash prize. All the workshops are available online so students can choose to attend as many or as few as they like before pitching with their team at the final event.

Also, students have access to Dunedin’s top business leaders who mentor and judge throughout the programme. This makes it an even more valuable experience, whether the participant wants to start their own startup, or move into employment.

The Distiller

The Distiller is Startup Dunedin’s early stage startup coworking space. It is located on campus next to the executive residence and overlooks the Leith river.

The Distiller provides desk space to early stage startups as well as all amenities including wi-fi and most importantly, coffee. Residents are encouraged to share their experiences as well as the office space. Sharing the good and bad means founders can move past their problems faster and learn from each other’s mistakes.

FoundX

FoundX is Dunedin’s premier startup event. Investors, founders, business professionals, students and local government come together to listen to a fireside-style chat and hear pitches from Dunedin’s emerging startups. The event livestream has an international audience and the evening provides a great networking opportunity with the local business community.

Startup Weekend

Startup Weekends are 54-hour long events where a range of people, including developers, designers, marketers, students, startup enthusiasts, come together to share ideas, build products and launch startups. Teams go from an idea scrawled on a napkin to a working prototype and even paying customers, all within a single weekend. Whether you’re looking for a taste of entrepreneurship, professional development, to join a team long term, or just have some fun – Startup Weekend has something for everyone.

Thanks for explaining to us Angus what Startup Dunedin is all about – we may be a small city size wise in Dunedin, but we are mighty, and there is plenty of fresh thinking and creativity going on behind the scenes.  As our local council advertise ‘Dunedin is NZ’s best kept secret.’

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Our University of Otago staff are nothing short of inspiring…..

When it comes to marketing the University of Otago both internationally and domestically, there are a group of individuals that make our job really easy – the academic staff.  We have an exceptionally talented and hard working body of academics that are passionate about their research, education and encouraging students to ask questions, think for themselves and ultimately, hopefully contribute to making the world a better place.  As part of our blog series, we are regularly going to sit down with one of our academics and ask 5 questions, so today we’re catching up with Dr Anna High, from the Law Faculty, Anna currently teaches Evidence Law and Criminal Law.

Dr Anna High, who teaches at the University of Otago Faculty of Law.

Research Expertise

What is your area of research expertise, and what is it about your particular area that motivates you?

“I have a number of research interests, but my current focus is Chinese Law.  My DPhil (equivalent to our PhD) focused on the negotiated existence of unregistered orphanages and child welfare NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organisations) in China, and their interactions, as quasi-legal organisations with state actors.  I’m in the final stages of preparing a book on this topic, based on my DPhil fieldwork and updated data gathered in 2017.”

How did you find your passion?

“I studied Mandarin from primary school right through to University in Australia.  Being a Chinese speaker opened a lot of doors when I was at university, including great clerkship opportunities in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.  By the time I was choosing my DPhil topic, I knew I wanted to study the nature and role of law in Chinese culture.  The topic I chose to focus on – Chinese child welfare law – also intersects with my interest in how the law protects vulnerable populations.”

How did you end up in Dunedin?

“I’m originally from Horsham, Victoria, and attended university at the University of Queensland. My journey to Dunedin has taken me almost right around the globe – from UQ to University of Oxford, to complete the BCL, MPhil and DPhil in law as the Queensland Rhodes Scholar ’08; to the US, where I first taught at Marquette University Law School, and then at Loyola University Chicago School of Law; then finally to Dunedin. Our family felt the time was right to return down-under, and we were excited for a sea-change in a beautiful part of the world with a world-class university.”

Sandfly Bay, situated on the Otago Peninsula, Dunedin.

Favourite place in Dunedin/secret insiders tip?

“My family loves Sandfly Bay, early in the morning when you get the beach to yourself. The hike from Sandy Mount down to the Bay is amazing, especially when the flowers are out, although really hard work getting back up the dunes.”

Shanghai, China.

Favourite place in the world to travel to?

“Being married to an American, and having studied in China and Europe, I’ve been on some amazing holidays around the world. Places that stick out: Grand Teton National Park, Umbria, the Black Forest and Shanghai.”

Students looking down at Dunedin from Signal Hill Lookout.

What advice you would give your 20 year old self?

“Take your time figuring out what you want to be, where to go, what to study, where to travel. There’s no need to rush into a major or try to set your life’s trajectory in stone when you’re so young.”

Thanks for your time Anna, we think you’re a star, and we are lucky to have your knowledge, passion and expertise here at Otago!  If you would like to find out more about studying at the University of Otago, click on the link below.

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Where can an Otago degree take you?

One thing that never ceases to amaze me in my job is the sense of loyalty and pride that the University of Otago imparts on alumni.  International students who have studied at Otago and have integrated into the culture and immersed themselves in all the opportunities have an incredible passion for this university at the bottom of the world.  A passion that continues long after they have left us.

An email sent to our department was forwarded my way last week from a student who graduated with a BSc (Bachelor of Science) in Chemistry in 2012.  From my first glance it was clear that this student wanted to share her story, so I got in touch with Nicole Bravo Castro (nee Wurster) to find out what she had to say about her experiences at Otago.

Nicole exploring the spectacular South Island during her time spent here studying for her undergraduate degree.

Plans change

Nicole Wurster (pictured above) had travelled to NZ from her home in Germany as a high school exchange student.  She never had any intention of staying beyond that time, but plans do change….

“I felt inspired by everyone applying for university and was immediately drawn to the University of Otago –  having been to Dunedin previously on a summer vacation I guess I had already fallen in love with New Zealand’s southern beauty.  Back then, I remember strolling around campus and dreaming about studying at Otago.  I decided to stay for the duration of my entire undergraduate degree.”

Why Otago?

Like many other international students who choose to study here our worldwide reputation and cutting edge research is attractive.  Also, another point that is often mentioned is the welcoming and warm nature of our staff and students, and Dunedin as a whole, Nicole felt immediately at home.  But another reason is the flexibility of our programmes – Otago aims to turn out well rounded graduates who have a broader subject knowledge and skill set than their chosen degree may imply:

Choosing courses at Otago is quite flexible, I could individually select and combine my courses to plan my degree step by step.  I absolutely loved this option as it helped me throughout my studies to develop my strengths – the system allowed me to take a couple of non-scientific subjects in order to give me a broader general knowledge.”

How did you find the learning/teaching environment at Otago?

“I loved it and haven’t come across the same dynamics in any other tertiary educational institution I know.  Otago’s chemistry department put a great focus on teamwork and offered countless opportunities to develop interpersonal skills.  Otago is very modern in both its facilities and its spirit and I developed some core writing skills which I value up to this day.  Lecturers were friendly and felt very authentic, which made every trip to university enjoyable – even the early morning lectures!  The feeling of not being just one of many, but someone individual with something valuable to offer is something I have frequently missed in European universities.”

Nicole (second from left) and friends with the iconic University of Otago clocktower in the background.

What about the student life/culture?

As we have mentioned before the saying ‘one size does not fit all’ is very applicable.  If we are going to be authentic the fact is not every single student that comes to us loves their time here.  But one theme that does come through after all our discussions with international students is that keeping an open mind will allow you to enjoy the culture and the range of experiences more.  “During my entire time as an international student I have felt fully included by my peers and completely immersed into the Otago culture.  I always kept an open mind and am still thrilled about the genuine friendliness of people in Dunedin and their laid back attitude towards life.”

Nicole Bravo Castro today – she credits her time at Otago as a stepping stone to an international mindset and career.

Where are you now?

After completing a Master in Science in Germany and additionally studying for one semester in France, Nicole is now fully employed for the Scottish Company ‘PEAK Scientific’ as territory manager in Northern Germany.

“I love how my job allows me to make use of my chemistry background whilst as the same time giving me the opportunity to speak to a variety of people, using the various languages I speak and benefitting from my international experiences.”

Advice to those thinking of coming here?

“There really is no other place that compares to New Zealand, and Dunedin is particularly gorgeous.  If you love natural beauty, sports and everything else the South Island offers, this is your best choice, it is also a very safe place in the world.  My years at Otago feel like a key stepping stone in my journey towards having a very strong international mind-set, a curiosity for foreign culture and a high level of tolerance towards others.”

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!

Dunedin Beaches – we don’t want to boast but…….

It’s funny that Dunedin, New Zealand shares it’s namesake with another city on the other side of the world, Dunedin, Florida. Dunedin Florida has quite a few similarities with ‘our’ Dunedin, including the name itself derived from the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh.  Both cities enjoy a rich Scottish heritage, beautiful parks, a vibrant city and educational opportunities, but I bet you didn’t think that beaches would be one of them?  That’s right, today’s blog is all about Dunedin NZ’s beaches, what they’re like, where they are and we don’t mean to boast, but………they are many and varied and just down right awesome.

The big picture

We’ve used this aerial shot of Dunedin before, but let’s face it, it is absolutely amazing, so why not use it again?  Also, it shows you just how close Dunedin is to the coastline and an array of beaches.  You can’t see all of the coast line in this shot, but it gives you a pretty good indication. In Dunedin, all of our beaches are within approximately a 30 minute drive of the Central City, some as close as 10 minutes away, and that’s where we’ll start with the closest and possibly most popular local beach.

St Clair Beach

St Clair Beach and Hot Salt Water Pool is literally on the doorstep for many Dunedin residents, and only a 10 minute bus or car ride from the Otago University campus.  Not only is this beach blessed with beautiful soft, white sand, the mighty Pacific Ocean that stretches its long legs out from the beach offers surfing opportunities for both beginners and those that love to wet their feet on a regular basis.  If you’re coming to Dunedin and you’ve never surfed before, get some surfing lessons from the locals and see what all the fuss is about.  Or if you prefer a slower pace, take a stroll along the beach and end your walk at one of the many cafes, restaurants and bars that line our most popular of beaches.

Aramoana Beach

Aramoana translates from Maori to English as ‘sea pathway’ and this beach at the mouth of the Otago harbour was probably one of the very first beaches that the European settlers to Otago would have viewed.  Aramoana beach is situated next to a quiet little township that has an array of permanent homes and kiwi baches.  It, like St Clair is a surfing destination, but it also attracts (as most of Dunedin’s beaches do) a range of wildlife that comes ashore and on that note it’s really important that you don’t go near any wildlife you see.  Follow these guidelines on how to behave around our precious and often rare and endangered wildlife taonga – keep your distance, don’t engage, keep your dog (and children) under control and keep noise to a minimum.

Brighton Beach

20km’s South West of Dunedin you’ll find a delightful little seaside town called Brighton.  Again, this beach is popular for surfers and the community around the beach very much embrace a relaxed and easy going lifestyle.

You can hire a boat from the Brighton motorcamp to paddle up and down the stream, at low tide Barney’s Island (at the South end of the beach) is a wonderful place to explore, and you’ll often find families with small children making the most of these peaceful waters.

Surf lifesaving patrols are on duty during the busy summer months and rumour has it that there is a fairly impressive little cafe out there to add to your enjoyment.

Tunnel Beach

Tunnel Beach is named because of the fact that a man-made tunnel has been carved through the rock in the 1870’s which leads to a sheltered and private beach.  There are many rumours and local legends as to why John Cargill carved this remarkable walkway, including the drowning of one or more of his daughters, or the fact that he wanted to provide his daughters’ with a secluded place in order to be far from the prying eyes that Victorian settlers so avoided.  Either way, it is spectacular.

Tomahawk Beach

So this is just a taste, a mere sampling of the many and varied beaches that Dunedin has to offer, and whilst we aren’t inclined to boast we thought we would share this little clip filmed by Lloyds Bank as a finale!  Tomahawk Beach, and all our Dunedin beaches, look how beautiful you are!

NB:  We would like to make special mention to DunedinNZ.com for their imagery and comprehensive list and information on Dunedin beaches!

Nicky Richardson is an International Marketing Coordinator at the University of Otago. With degrees in music and marketing, she is a recent graduate of Otago herself – she loves Otago so much she ended up getting a job here!