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News and events

Networks and Events 

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Thursday 23 March 2023

The sun shone for alumni, students and staff, along with members of the community, who turned out for February’s Clocktower picnic on the Dunedin campus and the Christchurch 50th anniversary picnic in the Botanic Gardens in March. It was also wonderful to welcome alumni to the Highlanders Coaches’ Breakfast in Invercargill last week.

Alumni in the News 

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Thursday 23 March 2023

Dentistry graduate Christian Lio-Willie signs with the Crusaders, Natasha Callister and Rowena Davenport are appointed to leading roles at MTF Finance, Tony Johnson receives top Australasian award for outstanding contribution to the pulp and paper industry, Clare Wilson takes honours at the David Awards for small and micro businesses in New Zealand.

Hot Picks 

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Thursday 23 March 2023

Be entertained and feed your mind with our Hot Picks. You can relax in the comfort of your own home, while listening to a selection of podcasts, interviews, and lectures from Otago academics, visiting lecturers, and alumni.

Otago Images 

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Thursday 23 March 2023

To celebrate 150 years of Law at Otago, we thought we’d bring a well-known face from the past back to life with colour. In 1893 Ethel Benjamin was the first woman to be admitted to law school in Australasia and in 1897 became the first female lawyer to appear as counsel in any case in the British Empire. Below are some photographs of Ethel Benjamin that we have colourised using a wee bit of technical magic.

Donor-funded Entrance Scholarships celebrated

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Thursday 23 March 2023

Donor-funded Entrance Scholarship winners were welcomed at a function in the University’s Terrace Lounge in early March. External Engagement Division Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tony Ballantyne said he was very pleased that the students had chosen to study at Otago.

Lady Pat Mark, a life of family, advocacy and books

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Thursday 23 February 2023

It was with great sadness we learned of the recent death of Lady Patricia (Pat) Mark QSO. Our thoughts and sympathy go out to her husband, University of Otago Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark CBE, their children Jenifer, Stephen, Alastair and Bridget, and her nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

From wartime orphan to wildlife authority

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Thursday 16 February 2023

An extraordinary life journey has taken renowned conservationist and science educator John Darby from orphanages in the United Kingdom during war time, to Assistant Director of the Otago Museum, Honorary Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Otago and champion of the region’s rare and vulnerable wildlife.

Seeds podcasts discuss entrepreneurs’ journeys to success

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Tuesday 14 February 2023

Otago Human Nutrition alumna Elise Hilliam, and Law and Commerce graduate Neil Edmond talk with Steven Moe, a Partner at Parry Field Lawyers in Christchurch, about how Elise came to create affordable meal planning company MenuAid, and how Neil made his financial literacy business MoneyTime a reality.

In Pursuit of the Public Good

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Monday 13 February 2023

When he decides to do something, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) recipient Wallace Bain, doesn’t do it by halves. Having developed a strong interest for the law after sitting in on a retrial of alleged murderer Arthur Allan Thomas in the early seventies, he decided to pursue a career in law at the University of Otago.

Saying yes to the red shirt and giving back to Otago

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Tuesday 31 January 2023

It’s been a busy Christmas holiday for Lachie Scarsbrook. Taking his first trip home from the UK since leaving for the University of Oxford nearly two years ago, not only was his research about a new species of gecko published – including collaboration with iwi over Te Reo Māori scientific and common names – but he decided to extend his trip by two weeks to help out for the fourth time as a “red shirt” at Hands On at Otago.

Success is always about joining the kaupapa and working together

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Monday 23 January 2023

While acknowledging how special it is to have been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the New Year Honours, Kaikōura High School principal John Tait (Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō, Ngāti Kuia) says in reality there are a huge number of people who have been instrumental in the development of his career, enabling him to do things “I would never have done just by myself”.

Honour recognises advocacy for equity, social justice and anti-racism

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Monday 23 January 2023

Taking Otago’s distance-learning Certificate in Health Promotion in 1996 helped create the foundations of a career in public health for Dr Heather Came-Friar, who was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to Māori, education and health in the New Year Honours.

Belief in a sound mind and a sound body

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Thursday 19 January 2023

Leadership in rugby, long service to the University of the Third Age (U3A) and support for the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra has been recognised in the 2023 New Year Honours list. University of Otago MBA Director of the New Ventures Programme, Richard Higham, was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) in the awards, which were announced in Wellington this month.

Dame Farah Palmer – New Year Honour a chance to shine a light

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Thursday 12 January 2023

It was only after much reflection that Dame Farah Palmer, three-time Rugby World Cup winning captain of the Black Ferns, decided to accept the honour of Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, announced in this year’s New Year Honours. The honour is in recognition of her services to sport, particularly rugby.

Drama at Otago paves way for career as voice coach to the stars

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Wednesday 21 December 2022

Cinderella, Britain’s Got Talent, TV drama Cilla, Doc Martin – chances are one of the actors or singers you’ve heard on film, TV or stage has been trained by Otago alumna and voice coach to the stars, Anne-Marie Speed.

Youth support for smokefree generation policy

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Wednesday 14 December 2022

Young people have shown strong support for the Government’s proposal to introduce a smokefree generation, a study by researchers at the University of Otago has found.

Leading the way – 20Twenties Young Alumni Awards 2022

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Wednesday 14 December 2022

We are delighted to announce this year’s 20Twenties Young Alumni Award winners. These trailblazing young graduates are already making their mark in their workplaces and communities across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Global Lens photography competition 2022 winners

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Wednesday 14 December 2022

We had a fantastic selection of entries to our 2022 photo competition from our alumni. Our four judges were once again impressed with the high standard of photographs submitted. When the judges’ decisions were collated, we found that several photographers dominated this year’s competition. Congratulations to our winners and runners up for 2022 and thank you to all our wonderful alumni who entered!

Networks and events

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Wednesday 14 December 2022

Renowned physiotherapist Dr Stanley Paris was on campus for a special awards presentation. It was wonderful to reconnect with alumni at events in the Pacific, Australia, North America and Southeast Asia. The Court of Benefactors gathered at the Staff Club in October. The Physics department and DARO welcomed family of distinguished alumnus Professor William (Bill) McLean. The medical class of 2002 celebrated their 20th anniversary.

From Central Otago to Silicon Valley – Substack’s Hamish McKenzie on supporting writers and creating a new publishing ecosystem

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Monday 12 December 2022

From editor of Critic to co-founder of subscription publishing start-up Substack, Otago English graduate Hamish McKenzie talks about his time at the University and the writing career that took him to San Francisco, leading to the creation of Substack in 2017. Today, the email newsletter platform hosts some of the world’s leading writers, bringing with them their loyal readers, and creating a whole new publishing ecosystem in the process.

Town and Gown partnerships support new opportunities for the future

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Monday 12 December 2022

Since the first classes in 1873, Law at Otago has been closely linked with the legal profession in Dunedin. We are delighted that two firms with a long history with the University, Anderson Lloyd and Gallaway Cook Allan, have partnered with Otago as the major sponsors for the Law 150th anniversary and the new Law Dean’s Innovation Fund.

Health innovator and storyteller

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Wednesday 7 December 2022

Since leaving the University of Otago in the late eighties Dr Tom Mulholland has had a remarkable career, as much as an entrepreneur, innovator and self-help book writer, as a health professional.