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Alumni news

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Alumni news

A word from the Head of Alumni Relations

alisonfinigan webOne of the most rewarding aspects of working in the Development and Alumni Relations Office is the opportunity to meet people of all ages who have spent some part of their lives studying at the University of Otago. From this common starting point they have gone on to widely diverse career paths and lifestyles that have taken them all over New Zealand and beyond, with some achieving at the highest level in their chosen field. Each one has an interesting story to tell and we are always delighted when alumni share these with us. Some of the stories span several generations, with the children and grandchildren of alumni from earlier decades following in the footsteps of their elders to benefit from an Otago education. The accounts of student life in times past provide us with a fascinating reflection of the changes in wider New Zealand society over past decades, while at the same time illustrating the enduring values that are at the heart of an Otago education. We hope to feature some of these wonderful histories in upcoming issues of the Otago Magazine.

In this issue we focus on some of Otago’s newest alumni who have been recipients of the Alumni Scholarship. Over 80 first-year students have benefitted from alumni generosity since the first award in 2004, and those from the early years are now well on their way to achieving success in advanced studies or their chosen careers. The stories featured in these pages show how much these students have gained from the support they received in their first year at Otago.

Once again, alumni have the opportunity to contribute to these scholarships through the 2013 Annual Appeal launched this month. The target is to provide more scholarships for deserving students who would otherwise encounter difficulties in accessing tertiary study, and we are hoping that an increased number of alumni will join us in supporting this worthy cause.


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Annual Appeal 2013

We are pleased to announce the launch of the 11th University of Otago Annual Appeal. This year we are raising funds in three essential areas that will keep your University at the forefront of excellence in research and teaching, and will make a real difference to people’s lives:

  • University of Otago Scholarships, enabling high-achieving, deserving young people who, through circumstances, would not otherwise be able to study at Otago
  • A Chair in Earthquake Science, to complement a multidisciplinary centre facilitating world-leading research into the fundamental understanding of faults and earthquakes
  •  A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner for research and clinical use that will allow Otago to continue world-leading research into brain health and body function.

For more information on the initiatives supported by the Annual Appeal please refer to the articles featured elsewhere in this magazine.
You can make a gift to any of the areas listed above by visiting or by completing the gift form in the appeal brochure that you will have received recently.

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Otago's international networks

The University of Otago Canadian Alumni Network

The efforts of a small group of alumni in Toronto to set up an Otago network in Canada are showing results, with groups of alumni from as far away as Vancouver and Edmonton expressing an interest in being involved. The Alberta Network really got off the ground in 2012, following two very successful events in Edmonton hosted by Dr Chris and Beverley Hoskins. The enthusiasm and sense of fellowship that arose from these gatherings has led to alumni in the area working across a range of activities, including hosting visiting undergraduate students and raising funds for a travel award for students taking part in the exchange programme between Otago and the University of Alberta.

Now others are expressing an interest in following suit. In London, Ontario, Western University faculty members Professor Craig Brown and Professor Murray Bryant, both Otago alumni, are supporting Otago students on exchange at Western. They have been encouraged by Allan Portis, Toronto-based alumnus and founder member of the Canadian Network, who studied at Western after graduating from Otago.

If you live overseas and are interested in supporting a student in your area, please contact Kaitlin Wolf at

The University’s exchange partners can be seen on the Otago International Office website

For more information on the University of Otago Canadian Alumni network please visit

Alumni of the University of Otago in America, Inc (AUOA)

The Alumni of the University of Otago in America, Inc (AUOA) has had another successful year. Members of the board of the AUOA continue to work to support Otago and the University is deeply appreciative of their efforts to raise the level of engagement of alumni living in the US. The University is also very grateful for the generous grants that the board has made to support a multitude of projects at Otago, including research into antivirals, undergraduate scholarships and student travel awards.
The board has undergone some changes in 2012, with the retirement in November of two of its founding members. Secretary Jennifer Schreiber and vice-president Dr Bill Lindqvist were honoured at the alumni reception in Washington DC last November for the central role they have played in alumni activities in the United States over many years.

As members of the board since its inception in 2005 Jennifer and Bill have helped to guide the organisation through a myriad of legislative and procedural changes to arrive at the efficient and effective entity that operates today. As key advisors on US alumni matters their wise counsel has been very much appreciated.

Another outstanding US alumnus and founding board member, Professor Murray Brennan, stepped down from his role as president of the board in November, although he has kindly agreed to remain as a board member. Murray has been replaced by Geoff Nichol, with Dr AnnMarie Oien and Professor Andy King taking over as secretary and vice-president respectively. We are looking forward to working with Geoff, AnnMarie, Andy and treasurer Neil Matheson over the next few years.

For more information on AUOA please visit

The University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia

After months of negotiations, the University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia has achieved a notable advantage for alumni living in Malaysia in the form of a tax exemption for donations to the University of Otago. Our grateful thanks go to Tan Sri Dato Dr Ahmad Azizuddin and to YB Datuk Amar Dr Tan Sri Leo Moggie for the work that they have done on our behalf to ensure this successful outcome.

Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact Ms Ong Suan Yi at 60-3-21611000 or email
Donations can be made by direct credit to the University of Otago Foundation For Malaysia account as follows:
   Name of Bank: Public Bank Berhad
   Address of Bank: KL City Main Office, Ground Floor, Menara Public Bank, 146 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur.
   Current Account (MYR) No: 311-859-6401
   Swift Code: PBBEMYKL

Cheques may be made out to the University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia and mailed to the following address:
   University of Otago Foundation for Malaysia
   C/- O & M Management Consultants Sdn. Bhd. (38053 M)
   Unit C-6-5, 6th Floor, Block C,
   Megan Avenue II,
   No. 12, Jalan Yap Kwan Seng,
   50450 Kuala Lumpur.
Donors will receive an official receipt from the foundation suitable for tax purposes.

The University is grateful to the foundation for the support it gives to the current Malaysian student community via the prize awarded annually to a student who has made an outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of Malaysian students on campus. The recipient in 2012 was Yang Safia Binti Mior Azli, a second-year student majoring in English and TESOL for her work with the Malaysian Students’ Association.

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New Year Honours

Otago alumni recognised in the New Year Honours include:

Knight Companion to the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM): Sir Julian Smith, for services to business.

Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM): Professor Ivan Donaldson, for services to neurology.

Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (QSO): Mrs Paula Rose, for services to the New Zealand Police and community.
Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM): Dr John Craig, for services to conservation; Ms Mary Devine, for services to business; Mr Acton Smith, for services to business.

Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM): Mr Hamish Bond, for services to rowing; Mr Nathan Cohen, for services to rowing; Mr Laurence Cooney, for services to business, law and the community; Ms Phillipa Gray, for services to cycling; Ms Alison Marshall, for services to the community; Mr Geoffrey Mirkin, for services to the community; Mr Ian Philips, for services to New Zealand-United States relations; Mr Jacob Rajan, for services to theatre; Dr David Taylor, for services to pathology and Māori.

Queen’s Service Medal (QSM): Mr Michael Andrewes, for services to opera; Mr Stewart Harvey, for services to heritage; Mr Keith Scholes, for services to athletics; Mr Jonathan Tanner, for services to hockey.

Keep in touch

Address for correspondence

Development and Alumni Relations Office
University of Otago
PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Physical address

Alumni House, 103 St David Street, Dunedin
Tel 64 3 479 4516