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University of Otago joins new international network


Thursday 13 May 2010 2:57pm

Matariki Network logo. The University of Otago is one of the founding members of a select international group of outstanding universities. The seven founding partners in this international network are Dartmouth College (established 1769) in the USA; Durham University (1832) in England; Queen’s University (1841) in Canada; University of Otago (1869) in New Zealand; University of Tübingen (1477) in Germany; University of Western Australia (1911) in Australia; and Uppsala University (1477) in Sweden.

These universities are among the oldest and foremost places of learning in their respective countries. They are scholarly communities where excellence in research and education take equal priority. The scale of the historic university cities or towns in which most are embedded enables staff and students to live and work together in a community with mutual respect for learning and each other.

Announcing Otago’s membership of the network, Vice-Chancellor Professor David Skegg said he was delighted that the other universities had decided to adopt a Māori name for the consortium. “The group will be called the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU). ‘Matariki’ is the Māori name for the group of stars called the Pleiades, which are also known as the Seven Sisters. Of course ‘Matariki’ is also the word for the Maori New Year, symbolising a new beginning.”

“All of the universities joining the MNU are research-intensive and campus-based, with a focus on providing a high-quality student experience,” Professor Skegg says. “They are also comprehensive in their scope of disciplines and outward looking.”

Professor Skegg and Professor Sarah Todd (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, International) attended the inaugural meeting of the MNU in Durham in February. Leaders from the seven universities discussed a wide range of potential programmes of activity. These include enhanced student exchange, development of joint postgraduate programmes, social responsibility projects, research collaboration, visiting fellowships, staff exchange and secondments, benchmarking and sharing of best practice, and cultural and sporting activities.

“One of the objectives of the MNU is to achieve collaboration in projects that will promote international development,” Professor Skegg says. A workshop on alternative energy sources, which will be hosted by Queen’s University, is already planned for later this year.

For further information, contact

Professor Sarah Todd
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International)
Tel 64 3 479 5295

The MNU website:

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