Draft decision

On 27 July 2018 a draft decision was made by the Victoria University of Wellington Council to change the University’s legal name to ‘University of Wellington’.

Friday 27 July

Victoria University of Wellington’s Council has today agreed in principle to simplify the University’s name to ‘University of Wellington’.

The University Council has made a draft decision to recommend that the Minister of Education approve University of Wellington as the new legal name for the University, as well as adopt a new Māori name of Te Herenga Waka.

The draft decision also includes a commitment to the ongoing use of the word Victoria to ensure its heritage is honoured and maintained.

The University Council has released a range of documents relating to the draft decision:

Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith says the draft decision has not been made lightly and follows a thorough process and debate involving consideration of a wide range of evidence and advice from staff, students, alumni, partners of the University, university marketing experts and other universities around the world that have changed their name.

Mr Paviour-Smith says the Council carefully considered that feedback in coming to the draft decision. Further and final feedback on the name simplification proposal can be lodged over the next two weeks and the University Council is expected to make a final decision at its 27 August meeting.

Mr Paviour-Smith says Council members are agreed that the proposed change is an important action looking to the University’s future.

“It will allow the University to better align with the city of Wellington, support our commitment to being a global-civic university and, over time, help improve our international reputation through better clarity and recognition of the University’s name. This, in turn, will help with student and staff recruitment and lead to more collaborations with top-ranked institutions.

He says the planned change in the University’s Māori name is also a future-focused move.

“Te Herenga Waka is the name of our marae and represents the very essence of all things Māori at our University. This inclusive name draws our communities together and puts them at the heart of the University.”

Mr Paviour-Smith says the University is acutely aware of the importance of heritage and the preference by some to leave the name unchanged. “Included in the Council’s draft decision is a commitment to ensuring the word Victoria continues to play an active role in the life of the University into the future.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the proposed name simplification is part of a wider programme of work to build the University’s international reputation.

“Building a strong international reputation in addition to our already strong domestic reputation is critical to a sustainable future. Like all universities in New Zealand, we are dependent on international staff and students and, at the same time, our staff have an ambition to be ranked among the world’s best universities. To succeed, we must have a distinctive name that stands on its own in the more than 100 countries from which we recruit our staff and students and in which our graduates work.

He says the university ranking agencies QS and Times Higher Education believe the name simplification will be beneficial for the University’s international reputation.

“One of the main drivers behind simplifying the University’s name is the confusion caused by Victoria University of Wellington’s name. There are a number of other tertiary institutions around the world that have Victoria in their name and, in addition, there are eight different ways in which the University’s name is expressed offshore.

“Another key driver is more visible alignment with Wellington and with the University’s global-civic vision, mission and positioning as New Zealand’s globally ranked capital city university.”

Watch Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilfold's presentation at the public meeting on 6 August.

Preface from the Vice-Chancellor

Professor Grant Guilford acknowledges the feelings and aspirations surrounding the draft decision to simplify the University’s name.