Monday 14 January 2019 5:14pm
The banners are up and the University of Otago’s 150th anniversary year is underway.
Music and entertainment acts have been confirmed for the anniversary birthday picnic on the Clocktower Lawn on 15 February, which is shaping up to be a fun carnival event.
Starting at 5:30pm, the picnic is a chance for new students and their families arriving in Dunedin to join with staff, students, alumni and the wider community to join in the 150th celebrations and there will be a short, informal opening for the 150th year.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne is delighted to invite the wider Dunedin community to the birthday picnic, to join with staff, students and their families in the celebrations.
“The University has always been a huge part of the city and this is a wonderful opportunity to invite the Dunedin community into our home to help us celebrate our 150th anniversary.”
Children’s entertainment on the night includes giant bubbles and Jenga, face painting, a balloonologist and science communicator Armadeo Enriquez-Ballestero.
Local band Loose and Colourful will be playing on the night, and 10 food trucks will be offering a variety of food for those who haven’t brought their own picnic.
Also in association with the 150th, the Burns Night Supper at the Dunedin Town Hall on 25 January will be helping to kick-off the anniversary year.
The annual celebration of the life and poetry of the Scottish bard Robert Burns has a special significance for the University as its first Chancellor was Reverend Thomas Burns, nephew of the poet, and the current Chancellor Dr Royden Somerville QC is a direct descendant of Thomas Burns.
Otago’s Scottish connections go back to the very beginning of the University, when in 1869, led by its entrepreneurial provincial superintendent, Aberdonian James Macandrew, the Otago Provincial Council passed an ordinance creating the University of Otago. The first council boasted three members who had studied at Edinburgh, plus two from St Andrews. The Scottish influence is detailed in the new book “Otago, 150 Years of New Zealand’s First University”, by Dr Alison Clarke.
Summer celebrations continue into March, with the launch of Dr Clarke’s book on March 15, and the following day, with the University in full swing for the first semester, a lively street parade of students and staff will march from the Dental School to the Octagon.
“Colours” is the theme of the parade, chosen to celebrate the diversity and cultures of the University. Joined by pipers, drums and brass, marchers will be encouraged to wear their academic colours and outfits of their clubs, colleges, regalia and international representation.
Celebrations will continue throughout 2019 with a wide range of academic conferences, concerts, reunions and sporting events. During Queen’s Birthday weekend events will include a formal Convocation Ceremony and church service. During the year-long celebration, the University will not only reflect on its strong past, but it will also acknowledge the changing face of our people and valuable contribution by Māori, Pasifika and people from other cultures around the world.