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The year-long celebration to mark 50 years of the University of Otago, Christchurch, ended with a fun get together.

A year of celebration to mark 50 years of the University of Otago, Christchurch, ended with a relaxed, fun, early evening get-together at the Rolleston Foyer earlier this month.

It was the final event of several to mark the milestone, themed ‘Kia Mau’ – to encourage those with a connection to UOC to come together and hold tight, both to the campus’s history and the future endeavours staff and students aspire to achieve.

UOC Dean and Head of Campus Professor Suzanne Pitama says it was a truly enjoyable evening to wind up a year of enjoyment, education and relationship building.

“It was really great to finish with a fun and relaxed night, and I’d like to thank all the staff and students who attended and helped create an amazing atmosphere,” Professor Pitama says.

“The food was wonderful, the crazy photo booth and ‘golden lady’ serving the drinks were highlights, alongside, of course, the fabulous company.”

The final celebration wrapped up a year of events to mark the 50th Kia Mau campus anniversary. An Academic Welcome and Picnic event kicked off proceedings on a sunny Friday in early March at the nearby Botaincal Gardens, followed by a more formal Civic Showcase event in June in the Rolleston Theatre, with key stakeholders in attendance.

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Attendees to the final event were encouraged to get together and reflect on the campus's history and future.

The anniversary celebrations continued with four winter Public Talks held on campus during July and August, celebrating the research excellence of campus staff in the areas of Ageing Well, Medicine and Surgery of the Future, Raising Mentally Resilient Teens and Gut Health. All four talks were fully subscribed, with plans for more to be held next year.

“It’s been wonderful to celebrate our mahi and to strengthen relationships with each other, the wider community, our alumni and important community stakeholders,” Professor Pitama says.

“All our 50th Kia Mau events were designed and shaped to reflect our five campus values, namely, mana whakatupu (leadership); tōtara tū ki te parae (social accountability); mā whero, mā pango (collaboration); ngākau tapatahi (integrity); and aroha ki te tangata (respect).”

Alongside Professor Pitama, Christchurch Medical Student Association (CMSA) President Lizzie Stevenson also gave a short speech at the end of year Kia Mau event.

“With the challenges of doctoring next year, I find myself reflecting on 6 years of this degree, recognising the enormous progress, achievements and sacrifices of our UOC tupuna over 50 years to create this incredible campus here today,” says Stevenson.

“Due to the mahi of Professor Pitama and her exceptional Deanery team, our Christchurch campus is not only a superb place to learn, but a superb place to belong. UOC and its staff and students really are a whānau, and this culture is truly unique.

“More than 5,000 medical students have completed their training here in the past five decades, along with several thousand health research, post-graduate and health professional students. it is safe to say that tens of thousands, likely 100s of thousands of lives have been saved or positively impacted by the products of this campus over 50 years,” Stevenson says.

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