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University announces name of new residential facility: Te Rangi Hiroa College

Thursday 10 October 2013 8:06am

Living-Space-image
The former Living Space building on Castle Street, central Dunedin, will be called Te Rangi Hiroa College.

A new University of Otago residential college will be named after a prominent Maori Rangatira and distinguished Otago graduate.

The college, located in the former Living Space building on Castle Street, central Dunedin, will be called Te Rangi Hiroa College, in honour of the renowned Otago graduate Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck), says University of Otago Director of Maori Development Tuari Potiki.

Peter-Buck-image
Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck)
Credit: Peter Henry Buck. General Assembly Library : Parliamentary portraits. Ref: 35mm-00094-e-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

“We are honoured that the family have granted us permission to name our college after Te Rangi Hiroa. Following his time at Otago, Te Rangi Hiroa went on to be a doctor, military leader, health administrator, politician, anthropologist and a museum director.

“He was an extraordinary man who gave so much to many people and it is fitting that his name will live on here at Otago. This is also significant because this not only honours a great man, but it also initiates an ongoing relationship with Te Rangi Hiroa’s family and iwi,” says Tuari Potiki.

It is believed that in 1904, Te Rangi Hiroa (Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama) became Otago’s first Māori graduate. He gained the medical degrees MB ChB in 1904 and in 1910 graduated with a MD. His thesis topic was “Medicine amongst the Maoris, in ancient and modern times.”

Te Rangi Hiroa went on to make significant contributions to his people and country in the fields of public health and Māori history.

After completing his medical qualifications in 1904 he began work in general practice, but a year later was appointed as a medical officer to Māori. From 1909 to 1914 he was a Member of Parliament, during which time he also completed his MD. A medical officer during WWI, he received a DSO after Gallipoli.

While in Parliament, Te Rangi Hiroa began to pursue an interest in anthropology. On his return from war service, he continued working in Māori public health, but also became recognised as an authority on Māori material culture.

In 1926 he became a professional anthropologist, first as research fellow at Hawaii's Bishop Museum, then as visiting professor at Yale University. As Director of the Bishop Museum from 1936, he received several honorary doctorates, including an honorary doctorate of science from Otago in 1937. He was knighted in 1946.

Te Rangi Hiroa college will cater to 127 mainly first-year students, and will open at the beginning of the 2014 academic year.

University develops new residential college on Castle Street

The University of Otago is developing a new residential college on Castle Street, Dunedin.

To be named Te Rangi Hiroa College, it is located a few hundred metres closer to the city centre than existing residential facilities Hayward and Cumberland Colleges.

Director of Student Accommodation James Lindsay says this is a smaller, well-appointed modern college for a community of 127 residents. It will house mainly first-year students, with a few older students to act as Residential Assistants, opening at the start of the 2014 academic year.

Some capital works are required as part of the conversion of the facility, and these will begin soon with the goal of the new college opening for residents in February 2014. As the tendering process is still under way, the budget for the project is commercially sensitive at this time.

“We anticipate strong demand for this residential facility. As with all Otago’s residential colleges, Te Rangi Hiroa College will provide students with a complete supportive environment, including three meals a day, study space, common spaces and academic tutorials,” Mr Lindsay says.

“One significant difference with the Te Rangi Hiroa College is that all rooms will have en-suite bathrooms. This will be premium accommodation and has slightly higher fees than other University-owned residential colleges as a result.”

Mr Lindsay also announced that Ashley Day, the former warden of Carrington College, will be the first head of Te Rangi Hiroa College.

“He brings his wealth of experience and his focus on student academic success, to the new college,” says Mr Lindsay.