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CategoryProperty Services
Approved byChief Operating Officer
Date Guideline Took Effect7 February 2018
Last approved revision31 July 2020
SponsorDirector, Property Services
Responsible officerStrategic Asset Manager, Property Services

Please note that compliance with University Guidelines is expected in normal circumstances, and any deviation from Guidelines – which should only be in exceptional circumstances – needs to be justifiable.


To provide clear processes for approval of the use of campus grounds.

Organisational scope

These Guidelines apply within the grounds of University of Otago owned and leased property on the Dunedin campus, excluding colleges and spaces within buildings.


Campus grounds
The grounds (hard surfaces and planted areas) surrounding University of Otago owned and leased property on the Dunedin campus, excluding colleges and spaces within buildings.
Private use of campus grounds
Using campus grounds for any commercial activity or non-commercial event (e.g. wedding, private function, sports event) which is not part of the University's or OUSA's own operations.


  1. Any use of campus grounds requires prior approval from the Property Manager, Property Services.
  2. Circumstances where a request for approval may be approved include:
    1. events with a strong connection to the University;
    2. events that benefit the wider community; and
    3. events that are using University commercial services.

    However, requests may be declined if the circumstances do not warrant private use, or where there is a conflict with the University's own activities (in which case the University's needs will take precedence).

    Commercial activities will normally only be approved where they are part of an event that meets one of the above criteria outlines in 2(a) and 2(b), rather than being for solely commercial purposes.

  3. Given the above limitations, no fee is generally required (as activities should either be for the 'greater good', or provide a return to the University through the use of commercial services), except that commercial activities may be charged a fee by the Property Management Unit.
  4. The locations suitable for private use include (but are not limited to):
    1. Gardens beside Marama Hall
    2. Paved areas beside the Staff Club
    3. Paved areas beside St David lecture theatre complex
    4. Water of Leith steps
    5. Union lawn
    6. Plaza Building forecourt
    7. Clocktower lawn (University and community functions only)
  5. Before approval, the Property Manager will consult with the Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Director Student Experience, University of Otago Events, Health & Safety Compliance, University Union, Proctor, OUSA, and any directly-affected department(s) to consider whether the private use is appropriate, and to avoid conflicts with other activities.
  6. Any catering on campus grounds shall be organised through the University Union (in which case the University Union will arrange approval for the use of grounds).
  7. In accordance with the Campus Memorial Policy, no funerals, burials, or scattering of ashes are allowed on campus grounds.
  8. The use of grounds must comply with all University Health and Safety requirements.
  9. If at any time (whether before or after a booking has been confirmed) an event is considered to be capable of involving unacceptable risk of harm to any persons or property or to the reputation of the University and concerns raised about it are unable to be resolved through discussion with the Property Manager, the issue is to be referred to the Director, Property Services. On being satisfied of the existence of such risk, the Director may determine that the event is not to proceed or must be relocated to a more appropriate venue.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

The Property Manager
Property Services Division

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