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Wednesday 3 August 2022 11:27am

VCpacificmainA function was held at the University's Council Chamber to officially welcome Professor David Murdoch and his family

Pacific leaders and stakeholders at the University of Otago banished the winter chill by providing a warm welcome for new Vice-Chancellor Professor David Murdoch.

Professor Murdoch started his new role at the University in February 2022, but COVID-19 delayed plans for a series of welcoming events, including one organised by the Pacific Development Office to commemorate his appointment.

Taking public health measures into consideration, a pared-back function was held at the University's Council Chamber to officially welcome the new Vice-Chancellor and his family.

Professor Murdoch told those assembled for the welcome it was important to him “that we act as a University of the Pacific, rather than a University in the Pacific”.

He said the key to this will be in delivering on the goals outlined in the newly-released Pacific Strategic Framework 2022-2030.

VCPacificsecondLocal Pacific community leaders welcomed the new Vice-Chancellor

The Director of the Pacific Development Office, Dr Tasileta Teevale, highlighted that she is “looking forward to working alongside the Vice-Chancellor and the rest of the Senior Leadership Team on the strategic imperatives that the University of Otago has committed to with regards to equity.

Pacific students and staff bring knowledge, skills and capabilities that are worthy in a modern, dynamic and transformative University”.

Pacific Community Engagement Manager Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai was delighted the welcome could go ahead, noting that, “as Pacific people, we are here to honour and support our leaders.”

Local Pacific community leaders welcomed the new Vice-Chancellor and urged the University to continue to provide a safe space for Pacific students and to work alongside Pacific communities to “weave the mat together” and to find prosperity in collaborative partnerships.

The Vice-Chancellor was then presented with a gift of a Samoan fine mat on behalf of Pacific communities at the University.

Professor Murdoch was joined at the event by his whānau and partook in a traditional Samoan Ava ceremony alongside newly-appointed University Chancellor Stephen Higgs.

- Kōrero by Keilah Fox.

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