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Otago Snapshot

He toa takitini

This year has had its challenges.

The likes of which have not been seen in the history of the University.

Take a look back at the year's successes, moments and memories.

International students return

It was a long road to Otago for returning and new international postgraduate students who were caught offshore last year.

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Aunty Pearl leaves Te Huka Mātauraka

Helping tauira Māori students through their tertiary studies was a nearly two-decade journey for Pearl Matahiki (Ngāti Porou).

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Auckland Dental facility opens

The University of Otago, Auckland Dental Facility was officially opened on 4 February by Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne.

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O-Week celebrations: Convocation

This year's Convocation Ceremony was different to previous years as speakers reflected on how COVID-19 had changed many students' lives but could prepare them for a bright future.

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O-Week celebrations: Marae visit

Hundreds of tauira Māori students turned out for the two Pōwhiri at Ōtākou Marae, kick-starting the University's Orientation Week.

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Michelle Taiaroa-McDonald joins the Māori Centre

Michelle Taiaroa-McDonald, who is of Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe and Waitaha descent, joins Te Huka Mātauraka.

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Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says goodbye

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

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Third time's a charm for some graduates

More than 200 students gathered together for an Acknowledgement Graduation Ceremony.

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Tagiilima Feleti joins the Pacific Islands Centre

Tagiilima Feleti was welcomed to the University with a heart-warming ceremony in April. He takes over the role from Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai.

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Te Huarahi and Te Puna o te Kī established

Te Huarahi, University of Otago Pathway, and Te Puna o te Kī, English Language Centre, were established with new staff welcomed aboard.

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First Sophia Crestani scholarship awarded

Established in 2020 in memory of Sophia Crestani, the first Sophia Michelle McMillan Crestani Scholarship was awarded to Emilia Haszard, a second-year Bachelor of Science student majoring in Oceanography, with a minor in Mathematics.

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May graduation goes ahead

The May graduation ceremonies took place despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Sir Eion Edgar 1945–2021

A proud alumnus, valued friend and unwavering supporter of the University.

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Humanities academics scoop top Otago award

Professor Ben Schonthal and Associate Professor John Shaver were the joint 2021 recipients of the University's premier research award, the Rowheath Trust Award and Carl Smith Medal.

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New Vice-Chancellor appointed

Professor David Murdoch commences as Vice-Chancellor early in 2022.

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SIX60 returns to its roots

Iconic music group SIX60 bought their old flat and teamed up with the University to provide scholarships for four aspiring Performing Arts students to live at the flat.

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Lockdown returns to campus

As the country returned to Alert Level 4, the University emptied once again.

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Otago wins prestigious national teaching award

Dr Latika Samalia, of the Department of Anatomy, was named the Ako Aotearoa Prime Minister's Supreme Award winner for 2021.

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New frog named in recognition of renowned amphibian researcher

A new species of endemic frog discovered from fossils in North Canterbury was named in recognition of the late Professor Phil Bishop (1957–2021) for his services to worldwide amphibian research and conservation.

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SIX60 scholarship recipients revealed

Four Otago students will be living in harmony next year thanks to an exciting opportunity in partnership with one of NZ's most successful bands.

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Staff recognised for COVID-19 efforts

The challenges presented by COVID-19 impacted the way most people go about their work, something noted in the University of Otago Staff Awards.

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Excellence in teaching celebrated

Four teachers from across the University were awarded Otago Excellence in Teaching Awards at the University of Otago Staff Awards.

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Housing researchers win the Rutherford Medal

Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman CNZM QSO FRSNZ and researchers at the He Kāinga Oranga – Housing and Health Research Programme at the University of Otago, Wellington, were awarded the 2021 Rutherford Medal.

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New Dean of Christchurch campus announced

Professor Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Whare) is the new Dean of the University of Otago's Christchurch campus.

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New Chancellor appointed

Stephen Higgs was appointed as the new Chancellor. He starts the role in March when current Chancellor Dr Royden Sommerville, QC retires.

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Be kind
Have a safe holiday

Kia atawhai
Kia pai tō hararei

These stories are some of those from our shared 2021 experience.

Many others have collectively allowed us to continue to provide for our students, the heart of our institution, the high-quality education they expect from us; remarkably, all within this unprecedented time.

Tēnā koutou katoa.
Thank you to all.

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