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Vice-Chancellor offers support

Clocktower at sunset

Monday 7 March 2016 11:14am

Statement from University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne: Monday 7 March 2016

Professor Harlene Hayne statement image
Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne

As a member of the University of Otago community, you will be aware that some of our students were injured during an impromptu Six60 concert in Castle St on Friday night. I am sure that many of you are concerned about how they are doing. At this stage, the University has contacted each of the students taken to hospital and has offered support, not only to them but also to their friends and flatmates. I was extremely impressed by the way our students provided support to emergency services on the night of the accident and how they continued to support each other over the weekend. Campus Watch and OUSA have also been remarkably helpful by visiting students and checking up on their welfare. I know that the student community has appreciated their support. Right now, our focus is very much on the wellbeing of our students.

We are asking students who need further support as a result of the incident to contact Student Health in the first instance, on 03 479 8212 or 0800 479 821.

Most importantly, our thoughts are with the seriously injured student in Christchurch and her family.

If staff receive any queries from the media about this incident, please forward these to Communications Adviser Jo Galer, Tel: 03 479 8263 or Mob: 021 279 8263; email

Please continue to look out for each other.


Harlene Hayne
University of Otago

Earlier statements from University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne

Sunday 6 March 2016

The University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne welcomes the move by the Government to investigate the cause of a balcony collapse during an impromptu Six60 Concert in Castle St, Dunedin, on Friday night.

The event was held at a private student flat in North Dunedin.

“We are also seeking as much information as we can to learn more about what contributed to this unfortunate accident, which seriously injured two young people, including one of our University students. We therefore welcome the Government’s announcement to look closely into the structural issues that occurred on the balcony that evening,” she says.

Professor Hayne has again visited the Castle Street flat concerned at the weekend, spoken to a number of affected students, and offered her and the University’s support wherever possible to those who were injured, including those with more minor injuries, and their families. The Chancellor of the University John Ward and Professor Hayne are keen to visit the two seriously injured individuals still in hospital as soon as practically possible.

“I am devastated, in particular that one of our students and her family are having to go through this. So we join with the Government in attempting to learn as much about what led to this as we possibly can,” she says.

Saturday 5 March 2016

"Today our energy is focused on working with our affected students to offer and provide support to them and, when appropriate, their families.

One of the two young people seriously injured last night was a University student. My thoughts are with this young woman and her family at this difficult time.

I am particularly proud of the students who stepped up to assist the emergency services staff last night. This was a terrible incident, and their actions have been commended by staff attending the scene."

Friday 4 March 2016

The University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne visited the scene of a balcony collapse in Castle St, Dunedin, tonight and she gives her full support to the affected students and their families. She is deeply concerned about the events of tonight, and will be seeking as much information as possible in coming days.

Students were visibly concerned for the welfare of their fellow students and many provided valuable assistance to the emergency responders.

“Our thoughts and deepest concerns are with the students, their families and friends at this time,” she says.

This activity was not on University grounds. The first that University staff heard of this surprise concert was via social media and the University emphasises this was not an official event.

However, once the University confirmed late this afternoon that the event was to take place at a private property in North Dunedin, its own security staff, Campus Watch, attended along with the Police as a precaution and fortunately were present to help out with first aid to the injured immediately after the balcony collapsed.