"> Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Otago farewells Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne

Thursday 18 March 2021 3:17pm

picnic image
Staff enjoy the sunshine at Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne's farewell picnic.

For outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne leaving Otago after spending half of her life here is bittersweet.

The Vice-Chancellor was farewelled from Otago with a picnic on the Clocktower lawn on Friday, 12 March.

picnic harlene and helen image
Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne and Deputy-Vice-Chancellor Helen Nicholson

Staff were able to say their goodbyes in person, enjoy lunch in the sunshine and relax to the musical stylings of Kylie Price and Radio One DJ Jamie Green.

Professor Hayne began her career at the University in 1992 in the Psychology Department, she then became Head of the Department before becoming Deputy-Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise. In 2011 she took on the role of Vice-Chancellor.

“I’m incredibly excited about the next chapter but sad about this one ending.”

Professor Hayne is leaving Otago to take up the role as Vice-Chancellor at Curtin University in Western Australia.

“I’m really pleased I’m leaving the University of Otago in such good shape. It’s poised to recover from COVID-19.”

Professor Hayne says she looks forward to watching the University’s continued success from afar.

When Professor Hayne exited the Clocktower for her farewell picnic her iconic pink coat was on, making her easy to spot for the many staff who wanted to give her a personal goodbye.

It was a fitting choice, with the coat being one of the tools the Vice-Chancellor has used to help new students identify her for the past 10 years.

picnic kylie price image

And yes, it’s flying across the ditch too.

“There are so many things about Otago that I’m taking with me and I think the coat’s going with me as well.”

The Wellington campus held a poroporoaki to farewell Professor Hayne, where she was presented with gifts from the mana whenua of Wellington, Ngāti Toa, and Pacific Island artisans of the community to take with her to Australia.

The taonga taketake – cultural gifts – were given to Professor Hayne to pass on to First Nation peoples of the Nyungar nation of the Aborigine and the Torres Strait Islanders at Curtin University in Perth, where she will take up her new role.

harlene farewell image
Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu presents Professor Hayne with a decorative Tapa/Ngatu.

Toa Waaka, Rautaki Hononga Māori, Māori Strategic Framework Project Manager, presented Professor Hayne with two kete matauranga, blue and gold hand woven flax baskets containing treasures in the form of specially designed cards featuring the following whakatauki proverbs:

E hara taku toa I te toa takitahi, engari, he toa takitini kē

My strength is not of one alone but of many united

Whaia te iti kahurangi, me he mea, ki te tuohu koe, he maunga teitei

Seek ye that which you most treasure, but if you should falter,

let it be only to the loftiest of mountains

Na tou rourou me toku rourou, kia ora ai te iwi

With your kete and my kete we can sustain everyone

harlene farewell wellington image
The kete matauranga.

Mr Waaka thanked Professor Hayne for her commitment to the Māori Strategic Framework and for supporting the making of the Wellington campus’s kākahu (cloak) that embodies the three whakatauki that were given as koha gifts for her to pass on to others at Curtin University.

Mr Waaka spoke of the continuing relationship created through the University, not just as work colleagues, but also as custodians of the learnings from our Māori Strategy policy framework that will relate to her work with the indigenous iwi of Perth.

Associate Dean (Pacific) Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu presented Professor Hayne with a decorative Tapa or Ngatu (in Tongan), on behalf of Pacific staff, students and wider Pacific communities, to be gifted to the indigenous people of Perth.

Dr Sika-Paotonu says the Tapa/Ngatu holds important cultural significance and symbolises the importance and value of respect, reciprocity and relationships.

Tapa/Ngatu is made from the bark of the mulberry tree and requires significant labour and is painstaking to produce, which adds to its value.

In Tonga, Tapa/Ngatu is considered koloa (treasure) and can be gifted in respect and honour of persons, or during weddings and funerals and other important ceremonial events, with each design containing significant cultural value and significance.

The poroporoaki also provided an opportunity for Dr Sika-Paotonu to extend her sincere thanks and gratitude to Professor Hayne for the Pacific-related work that has been undertaken and progressed at the University of Otago under her leadership as Vice-Chancellor.

harlene farewell david murdoch image
University of Otago, Christchurch Dean Professor David Murdoch.

Professor Harlene Hayne was given a lively send-off by the Christchurch campus. Poignant words from Dean, Professor David Murdoch, reflected on the special relationship the campus had with Professor Hayne and of her mana for which she is so respected.

Dr Seán MacPherson, with medical students, Matt and Kiran joined forces on piano, drums and guitar, to deliver amusing, personalised, remixes of Purple Rain (Harlene Hayne) and There She Goes. The talented trio ‘raised the roof’ of the Rolleston Lecture Theatre, to be heard throughout the ground floor of the campus and the edges of Christchurch Hospital. Staff waved mobile phone torch lights in time to the Purple Rain tune.

Professor Hayne was presented with an elegant pounamu necklace.

Her final day at the University is Friday, 19 March.