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Pioneer podcasts tell the stories of our early alumni

Tuesday 11 June 2019 2:29pm

Emily-Siedeberg-small-image
Otago’s first female medical graduate Dr Emily Siedeberg (later McKinnon), 1896. (F. L. Jones photographer. Box 148-002. Hocken Collections - Uare Taoko o Hākena)

Just in time for our 150th birthday, a new Pioneer Podcasts page has been launched on our 150th website.

Discovered with the help of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, the podcasts feature pioneering alumni talking about their time at University, their careers and the early days of Dunedin.

“It’s been wonderful to discover this historical treasure trove,” says Director of Development and Alumni Relations Shelagh Murray. “These stories make up the fabric of Otago and we’re delighted we can honour our wonderful alumni this way in our 150th year.”

Ms Murray says the project was made possible with the help of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision’s Senior Client Access Liaison Sarah Johnston, who worked with the alumni office to search for recordings and uncover hidden gems.

“We’re very grateful to Sarah for all her efforts in finding the recordings for us.”

Interviews featured include our first female medical graduate Dr Emily Siedeberg McKinnon talking about the challenges she faced early in her studies, her work at Seacliff Hospital and as a GP in Dunedin – and how in 1913 she became the second woman in Dunedin to drive a car. She graduated in 1896.

"These stories make up the fabric of Otago and we’re delighted we can honour our wonderful alumni this way in our 150th year."

Another podcast is a recording of Otago’s first Māori graduate Te Rangi Hiroa (later Sir Peter Buck), who graduated MB ChB in 1904, addressing a civic reception held in his honour in Dunedin in 1949. He talks about his early days as a medical student in Dunedin, his work in the Health Department, his political career, military service in World War I, anthropology and the Bishop Museum in Hawaii.

Other alumni to feature in the series include Tui Flower, Janet Frame, Dr Muriel Bell, Dame Cecily Pickerill and Dr Betty Batham.

As well as alumni, the podcasts include early recordings of capping processions, the Queen Mother’s visit to the University in 1966, a centenary documentary and Otago Medical School talks from 1948.

The Pioneer Podcasts will continue to be loaded onto the page over the next few weeks, and can be found on the 150th website, under the Alumni tab on the lefthand menu: https://www.otago.ac.nz/150/alumni/podcasts/index.html