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University of Otago profiles


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2010 Distinguished Research Medal: Prof David Fergusson

Professor David Fergusson has tackled his fair share of sacred cows" during nearly 35 years leading the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS).

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2014 Early career awards for distinction in research

The University of Otago is committed to recognising and nurturing the work of early-career researchers. In 2014, five Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research were presented, as well as the annual Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award.

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A cut above

Hairdressing delivered a lot to women over the 20th century – more than simply the hairstyles and the opportunity to look good. It also provided them with new employment and business opportunities.

Kurt Krause

A little look at the big picture

X-ray technology dates back more than 100 years and has generally been used to give the big picture, looking at bones and organs.

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A love of healing and people

Aarthi Rajesh’s Journey to a Genetics Honours Degree created, and prepared her for, great opportunities

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A mission for marine conservation

Genetics PhD student Gert-Jan Jeunen has gone from rearing alpacas in Belgium to developing a science-fiction-like way to help conserve New Zealand’s oceans.

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A scientific calling

Award-winning anatomy teacher, Dr Rebecca Bird would like more people to choose science as a career path.

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A skill set for all time

Kathy Sircombe explains how a genetics MSc at Otago is setting her up for a great career.

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A world history of Bluff

Dr Michael Stevens (History) describes his research on the history of the Southland town of Bluff as both smaller and bigger than national-level history.

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AI and responsibility

Otago researchers are investigating the implications of the artificial intelligence revolution on law, life and work.

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Aaron Hapuku

“I really wanted to combine my passion for hauora Māori and public health with sound academic qualifications that can make that passion a career."

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Aaron Jordan

A day spent surveying Otago Harbour from a boat was enough to convince Aaron that this was the career for him.

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Aaron Stevens

It has been an exciting journey and I am glad to have a great team to work with every day.''

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Aaron Turner

One day soon Aaron Turner plans to be hanging out of a helicopter as a member of a rescue team saving lives.

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Abbe Hyde

“I knew immediately that Management was for me, and the more I learned about it the more I liked it."

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Abby Suszko

I used the Foreshore and Seabed Debate as a case study to unearth the equality and rights arguments that New Zealanders employ…

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Abel Ang

Abel Ang had heard New Zealanders were friendly but was unprepared for just how willing to help other researchers at the University of Otago, Christchurch, turned out to be.

Kirsten Lovelock

Acres and pains

The University of Otago's Injury Prevention Research Unit (IPRU) has recently completed the most comprehensive study of occupational health in agriculture in New Zealand – with worrying results.

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Across the divide

Across the divide

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Adam Faatoese

“I’m hoping to take what I have learned so far and be able to apply it on the front line in the future.”

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Adam Norrie

Adam Norrie might be a specialist in the finer points of quantum mechanics, but on any given day he could be writing reports on subjects ranging from Antarctica to aerospace.

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Aditya Sharma

Physiology satisfies Aditya Sharma's thirst for knowledge about how the human body works.

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Adon Moskal

"While it definitely helps to be a performer, you don't necessarily have to be able to perform to be a good producer... I am living proof of that!"

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Age-old issues

The multidisciplinary CHALICE study is investigating how New Zealand's increasing elderly population can age healthily.

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Akio Kato

"My university gave me four country options for study; Hawaii, Canada, Australia and New Zealand."

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Alana Bird

“The programme was a perfect combination of theory and practical – it allowed me to put my new knowledge and understanding into practice."

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Alapasita Teu

If Alapasita Teu has her way, there will be a lot of New Zealanders much like her in the future – Pacific Islanders who are fit, healthy and engaged in regular physical activity.

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Alaric McCarthy

Alaric McCarthy's postgraduate research is set to be something of a hot and cold experience - it will take him from Dunedin to the Cook Islands and Antarctica.

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Albany Lucas studying towards a DipGrad in Psychology

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Albert Green

"I have been exposed to new ideas and new knowledge that have challenged life-long, and now outdated, prejudices."

Alcohol and the workplace

Alcohol at social work events may be legal, but there is increasing recognition of the dangers of alcohol consumption at work or at work-related social functions.

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Aleisha Lord

“Economics has definitely been a subject that has allowed me to develop skills such as mathematics and econometrics, and then apply those skills to particular areas of interest."


Alex Barker

Studying Physics at Otago and taking part in the lively Dunedin music scene lead Alex to a job at Marshal Day acoustics, who do anything to do with acoustics!

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Alexander Wong

Alex’s advice for new students is “Make use of all the opportunities on offer. Make sure you attend all your lectures and prepare for tests and exams but also ensure that you schedule breaks and spend time with friends”.

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Ali Mohammadi

One of the things Ali Mohammadi enjoys most about his PhD study are weekly meetings with his whole research group.

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Ali Rashidinejad

Ali is originally from Iran and moved to New Zealand to do a PhD in Food Science at Otago at the beginning of 2012.


Alice Barker

Alice is a Food Science Graduate, currently employed as a Sensory Analyst at the Australian Wine Research Institute.

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Alice Crawford

Alice works at Lion's new cheese manufacturing plant in Tasmania, having completed a Bachelor of Science (with Honours) here at Otago.


Alice Richardson

If you are ever unfortunate enough to be in hospital during a bacterial outbreak, rest assured that Alice Richardson will be working against the clock to help solve the problem.

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Alison Kearsley

"Gaining the Certificate in Catechetical Studies was a huge benefit for me when looking for jobs; it gave me an instant edge over other applicants."

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Allan Wilson at Otago: the science of evolution

Allan Wilson at Otago: the science of evolution


Allanah Kidd

Allanah Kidd chose to study at Otago because of the quality teaching and research as well as the life skills and independence students gain living here. She had planned a double degree in Commerce and Science, but found the Applied Science degree in Environmental Management delivered exactly what she wanted.

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Allie Buczkowski

“At school I loved business and art. Marketing gave me the best balance between the two."

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Amanda Navaratne

“The projects I’ve worked on during my internships have enabled me to collaborate with some extraordinarily intelligent, inspiring individuals"


Amelia Bell

“It puts a different lens on everything. It’s more a way of thinking than just memorising information. That’s what I love.”

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Amelia Gill

Amelia’s PhD was an investigation of the relationship between snoring, learning and behavioural development, in pre-school children.


Ameline Yow

Ameline Yow studied Economics at Otago. This might not look like a science degree, but Economics is now available as a Science major at Otago. This is her story...

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Amie Taua

“My thesis topic, is a pilot study that looks to develop the foundation for a Bicultural Audience Reception theory in a New Zealand context". Audience Reception theory, Amie explains, suggests that the way a reader/viewer interprets a piece of creative work is influenced by the structure of their cultural background and subsequent life experiences.

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Amir Bastani

I chose the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago for my PhD, as it is one of the few places I know of with an ideal research center...

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Amy Proudfoot

"I enjoyed the mix of papers and while not all the compulsory papers would have been my preferred options, I found them really beneficial".

Jessica Palmer & Nicola Peart

An abuse of trusts?

Apparent widespread abuse of trusts of all kinds – be they family, trading or charitable trusts – has prompted the Faculty of Law's Professor Nicola Peart and Jessica Palmer to undertake in-depth research into their legal basis.

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An inside story

2013 Distinguished Research Medal recipient Professor Robert Poulin is investigating the potential effects
of climate change on parasites and the far-reaching implications these might have.

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Anatomy of research

Anatomy of research

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Andrew Barnett

“It’s very rewarding to experience that light-bulb moment when a student gets what you’re teaching them.”

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Andrew Hagan - "Breaking stereotypes"

A career in sports medicine beckoned Andrew Hagan down to Dunedin but little did he know his future would really kick off in finance.

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Andrew Haines

It was a science fiction novel Andrew Haines read at high school that first sparked his interest in nanotechnology.

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Andrew Lamb

"The training is very hands-on from the get go, which is hugely beneficial for us graduate dentists."

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Andrew Wang

Andrew Wang's dream is taking him to Templeton Green College in Oxford where he promises to “work to the best of his ability to uphold the reputation of BBiomedSc Honours at Oxford!”

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Angela Harwood

BPharm(credit)2015, PGDipClinPharm(dist)2009


Angela Wanhalla

"It's about reviving and reconstructing communities and looking at personal experiences"

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Angelique Bridson

As a marketing executive for New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing, Angelique Bridson's role is to promote the New Zealand thoroughbred and its supporting industry...

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Angie Anderson

Fulfilling the dream of becoming a dietitian had its challenges.


Anita Jelley

The winner of the 2005 inaugural L'Oreal Scholarship couldn't be more suited to the award.

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Anita Middlemiss

From the decline of grand skinks in Otago, Zoology Master's graduate Anita Middlemiss has shifted her sights to lizards in the Whanganui National Park.

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Anji Sami

For musician Anji Sami, the great appeal of coming to Dunedin was that it was far away and she didn’t know anything about it.

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Anna Carey

“My Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management has enabled me to progress my career."


Anna Guenther

“My research on crowdfunding showed that there are a lot of niche markets where this could be useful, and crowdfunding could become a valuable tool for start-ups too"

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Anna Guthrie

Sapere Aude - Dare to be Wise. Anna Guthrie has taken the University of Otago motto very seriously during her studies.

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Anna Leese

"In Dunedin if you do well there are so many opportunities to be in the lime-light."


Anna Skelton

Anna Skelton completed her Studies in Physical Education and went on to be a video analyst for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic netball team.

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Anna Woods

"Studying Chinese has truly provided me with a wealth of opportunities and will ensure my working life will be filled with varied and fascinating challenges."

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Anna van Pomeren

Anna van Pomeren always wanted to be a scientist, working towards medical breakthroughs.

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Anne Burston

I chose to pursue postgraduate study to improve my qualifications for future work overseas.

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Annika Seddon

Annika says she regards her supervisors as ‘the dream team’ because of their depth of knowledge and research achievements.

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Antidepressant dilemma

To prescribe or not to prescribe. That is the question faced daily by GPs treating those with depression.

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Antoinette Righarts

I embarked on PhD studies on infertility in Otago and Southland, jointly supervised by the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM) and Women’s and Children’s Health (WCH)

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Ants Williams

Psychologists sit around in offices talking to people all day - right? Wrong - if your name is Ants Williams.

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Appealing research

Appealing research

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April Brown

In year two of a marine ecology degree, April (who grew up landlocked in Salt Lake City, Utah) sees Otago as the perfect place to study.


Are New Zealanders adequately prepared financially for retirement?

PhD student Jelita Noviarini is studying financial adequacy in retirement, looking at financial adequacy, financial literacy and behavioral aspects of post-retirement wealth management of New Zealanders.

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Art of science

Professors Jeff and Lisa Smith (College of Education) discovered that reactions to art and to images of space are similar.

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Ashleigh Adair

"There are things I learned during my time at Otago that I now rely on all the time, such as the ability to analyse audience insights, write strategic communications plans and present to rooms full of people."

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Asian migrations

The burgeoning global influence of Asia has prompted major research initiatives at the University of Otago, including the Asian Migrations Research Theme. It brings together researchers from throughout the University who are interested in the movement of people and ideas within Asia and into the Pacific, including New Zealand.

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Aspirational achievement

Bi-lingual, bi-cultural education is a key to improving educational outcomes for Māori secondary school students, according to a specialist in Māori education.
Associate Professor in Māori Teacher Education, Paul Whitinui (College of Education),

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Aspire to a smokefree NZ

ASPIRE2025 – an interdisciplinary group of tobacco control researchers – conducts research that informs and supports the government’s goal of creating a tobacco-free New Zealand by 2025.

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Associate Professor Jean Hay-Smith

Nothing silences a group faster than “well, my master’s research investigated painful sex after childbirth, and my PhD looked at pelvic floor muscle training for urinary incontinence”, which is her stock answer to the question “what is your research about?”

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At the front

Soldier, surgeon, academic - Associate Professor Lieutenant Colonel Dr Darryl Tong is combining all three roles for his PhD on face-and-jaw surgery in the context of warfare.

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Augmented potential

Augmented potential



The University of Otago is committed to recognising and supporting the work of early-career staff. In 2015, five Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research were presented, as well as the annual Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award.

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Ayesha Verrall

Ayesha is completing a PhD with the University’s Centre for International Health, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.

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Aysha Rimoni

Aysha Rimoni’s academic achievements in Samoa earned her a scholarship to study in New Zealand.

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Bad reactions

Geneticists at Otago's Carney Centre for Pharmacogenomics are looking at how genetic make-up may contribute to adverse reactions to drugs.

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Bailey Kennedy

Her father’s battle with colorectal cancer inspired Bailey Kennedy to pursue a career in medical research.


Barclay Winter

Barclay studied Physiology at Otago, completing a BSc in 2009, and then a Postgraduate Diploma in 2010 looking at epithelial physiology.

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Beauty in numbers

Professor Astrid an Huef (Department of Mathematics and Statistics) says she pursues mathematics for its beauty.

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Bee Bathish

“I believe that medical research could save lives. I want to work on a project that could make a difference for patients and contribute positively to society’’

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Behaving well

Behaving well

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Belinda Craigie

“Communication is paramount to everything we do. It’s important – not to mention fascinating – to learn about the history and development of communication and the power of the media."

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Ben Lawrie

After Ben Lawrie left school he spent three years learning about the world.

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Berenice Torres

Berenice wanted to come to a country where English was the main language spoken.

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Beth Leslie

“I’m interested in what happens when people are put in different positions”

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Bevan Lill

Bevan is a geography graduate talking about his work for the international property advisory company DTZ New Zealand Limited. He shares his passion for Geography and his work as a consultant.

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Big data for big problems

Big data for big problems

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Bill Turnbull

When a visionary, dedicated person creates innovative recreation concepts and dazzles architects with his ingenious, practical designs, it is fitting that Bill Turnbull has the 02 Gym at the new state of the art Unipol facility named after him.

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Biological impacts

Biological impacts

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Blair Grant

“Doing three different subjects means you can't fall into the intellectual biases of any one discipline - you're forced to be a critical thinker when the different subjects sometimes tell you different things, or at least, emphasize different aspects of the same problem."

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Body of thought

Advances in medical science are raising legal questions around body material and ownership.


Bonar Carson

I wanted to know how and why everything in the world worked and Physics was the best way to answer those questions.

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Braid McRae

I stumbled-upon the Clothing and Textile Sciences programme at a study/careers expo when I was in seventh form at school.  I was involved in a lot of sport and through that involvement, developed an interest in the technical aspects of clothing and textile items such as outerwear for skiing and snowboarding or gear for tramping. 

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Brain Health

Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa is bringing together expertise to gain a better understanding of the ageing brain and to develop new therapies to enhance lifelong brain health.

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University of Otago researchers are at the forefront of identifying biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease – and new treatment options – that could lead to early diagnosis and better outcomes for the world's ageing population.

Brendon McIntosh, Pharmacy Graduate

Brendon McIntosh

BSc (2011), BPharm (2013)


Brent King

Brent King graduated at the end of 2004 with a Bachelor of Applied Science(Honours) in Environmental Management. Now he’s working as an Environmental Monitoring Officer for the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

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Brian Casey

"I had an excellent experience and have graduated with two fantastic degrees which really fit well together."

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Bridget Gentle

Bridget Gentle has dressed wounds using only the light of the cell phone.

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Bridget Lysaght

“Dunedin really is a student city, it’s a great place to live when you’re a student.”

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Bridget Murphy

Bridget had graduated with an MSc in Psychology 20 years earlier and decided to up-skill for her Ministry job by completing the PGCertPH and chose the endorsement in Health Services Policy.


Bridget Wright

After graduating with a degree in Surveying, Bridget Wright now works as a Registered Land Surveyor in NSW and ACT in Australia.

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Brittany Williams

Not getting university entrance didn’t stop Brittany Williams getting to university. Unlike most of her peers, she finished school, and even got a scholarship to Christchurch Polytechnic to study business administration.

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Bronwyn Polaschek

Finding out Professor Hilary Radner was based at Otago was the clincher that brought Bronwyn Polaschek back to New Zealand and into a PhD programme.

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Building knowledge

Using videoconferencing and ICT (information and communications technology) to create a virtual classroom is one thing, but Professor Kwok-Wing Lai, director of the Centre for Distance Education and Learning Technologies (College of Education), is using digital technologies to help children work collaboratively as "knowledge builders", even though they live in different parts of the country.


Building partnerships not silos

How do we integrate business skills to create workable systems that improve health care performance?

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Building partnerships… not silos

Building partnerships… not silos

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Building the future

Dr Mikkel Andersen is a builder, but you need some extremely high-powered equipment to see what he's building. Andersen and his team at the Department of Physics are using the world's smallest building blocks to begin constructing the future of technology.

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Buildings and beliefs

Buildings and beliefs

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Bulimia burden exposed

University of Otago, Christchurch researchers, including clinical psychologist Dr Virginia McIntosh, investigated whether giving exposure therapy – where patients and therapists re-enact scenarios that typically precede binging and purging – helped them abstain from these behaviours.

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Byron Sanders

“My Education Studies degree gave me a holistic view of what education is and a global view of what it could be."

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Cameron Toogood

As a future doctor in New Zealand or overseas, Cameron hopes that the understanding of Chinese culture he is developing will improve the standard of care that he can provide to these communities.

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Can Cinar

“Credit rating agencies – those financial institutions that rate financial security for countries, governments, companies and individuals  – have huge power, and that’s what I’m really interested in."

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Cancer fight goes viral

Associate Professor Vernon Ward and his colleagues are using the empty shell of the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus to tailor an immune response against cancer.

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Cancer management

New blood tests using the latest genomic technologies may provide a better way to assess treatments for advanced rectal cancer.

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Cancer trends

Cancer is the most significant cause of death in New Zealand, likely to affect one in three people at some stage in their lifetime, and accounts for around 30 per cent of all deaths. While there has been a steady improvement in survival rates for many cancers over the last two decades – largely because of early detection and treatment – researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington believe significant further progress can be made in reducing cancer mortality.

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Candace Hill

Although getting an interview can be about who you know, once you are in front of the employer it’s only about what you know.

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Candice Gracie

After seven years working as a dental surgery assistant Candice Gracie itched to take a more active role in patient care, so she trained as a dental hygienist.

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Carbon debates

Do a company's carbon emissions affect its market value?

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Carly Collins

I found that being part of a Unit was a big advantage, and the SBRU team involved me in all aspects of Unit life.

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Carolijn van Noort

Researching the "stories" of infrastructure projects gives insights into the aspirations of emerging countries, and their drive towards a new world order, says Politics PhD student Carolijn van Noort.


Caroline Beck

I found the idea of doing curiosity-led research absolutely fascinating, and I still do.


Casey Beel

Only a few months after completing his Masters in Geography, Casey Beel Casey got a job as Hydrological Technician at the West Coast Regional Council.

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Cassino Doyle

Cassino Doyle, Land planning and Development (Whakatohea, Te Rawara). from Rugby league to construction management and now he works for global engineering consultants MHW.

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Catarina Sahlberg

Catarina Sahlberg came to the Physics Department at Otago to do her PhD in Quantum Theoretical Mechanics, looking at Bose Einstein condensiates and currently works as a research officer at the Sweedish Research Council

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Catherine Roughton

For honours Zoology student Catherine Roughton conducting field work meant time spent with binoculars stalking lizards in the barren country around Macraes Flat.

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Catherine Sherwin

After completing her PhD in clinical pharmacology in the Department of Women’s and Children's Health, Catherine Sherwin has had many opportunities to excel in her field and to use her training to make a difference in the area of paediatric pharmacology.

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Catherine Willett

Podiatrist Catherine Willett jumped straight into postgraduate studies in 2005 after her undergraduate degree, tackling a Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Medicine at Otago.


Catriona Hurd

"Seaweed in New Zealand has not been studied much," Catriona Hurd says, "and there are many exciting questions that need answering."

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Cause and effect

New Zealand has the highest rates of bowel cancer in the world. Fortunately, the University of Otago is at the forefront of cancer research and new findings to bring these figures down.


Caves to castles

Second homes are often perceived to have tangible tourism values, particularly in the regions, but they also offer more intangible value for leisure and wellbeing for their owners.

Catherine Day

Cells behaving badly

Every second of every day, more than a million cells in our bodies kill themselves as part of a constant replacement policy.

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Chan Won Lee

Chan Won Lee is studying for a Master of Business Data Science at the University of Otago.

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Chanelle Carrick

Chanelle Carrick is a big fan of contemporary New Zealand art and photography. But it's the artists themselves she's keen to work with.

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Changing pace in the Pacific

Development policies are being implemented too quickly in Pacific island countries, to the detriment of their people, according to Dr Iati Iati, a lecturer in Otago's Department of Politics.

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Charles Boulton

Uni doesn't always need to be about training for a specific job or future, it can also be about learning to think critically in a range of ways.

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Charles Radclyffe

Charles Radclyffe got hooked on archaeology during a gap year volunteering at excavation sites in the UK and in the Solomon Islands where he was born and grew up.

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Charles Rowe

"My advice to anyone considering Chinese at Otago: mastering Mandarin opens doors!"

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Charlotte Goldsmith

She believes Genetics is “the fastest-moving and most exciting of scientific disciplines that exists today.”

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Charlotte Payne

"The teaching practice was so emotionally and mentally rewarding that it always provided me with renewed determination to succeed.”

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Charlotte Stace

The variety of enriching experiences I had as an Art History and Theory student at Otago equipped me with the right skills to follow my dream of working within the museum and art gallery sector.

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Charlotte Verstappen

“I am fascinated by the concept that the body can adapt over the course of a lifetime, and how the changes in muscle, tendon and bone are able to reflect different aspects of an individual’s life."

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Chemical connections

Specialising in designer molecules, 2015 Distinguished Research Medal winner Professor Sally Brooker looks at the small detail of the big picture.

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Cherie Sweeney

Cherie Sweeney is responsible for compiling NZ's annual greenhouse gas inventory for the environmental protection agency.

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Chin Loh and Clare Strachan

For Chin Loh, a career in Pharmacy was more than the chance to dispense medicines and advice - it was also a path into the world of business. Meanwhile Pharmacy PhD student Clare Strachan is researching the precise crystal structures of drugs.

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Chloe Baillie

Speaking another language opens up so many great opportunities for learning, communicating and expressing ourselves, and the cultures that go hand in hand with the Spanish spoken in different places are captivating to learn about and experience.

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Chloe Banks

Chloe Banks took a wide variety of papers in her first year at Otago.

Chloe Campbell, Pharmacy Graduate

Chloe Campbell

BPharm(Hons) (1995)

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Chloe Manihera

Chloe's involvement with Disability Information & Support came out of the blue.

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Chris Brickell

Associate Professor Chris Brickell’s research may investigate the historical context of Gender Studies, but his teaching is bang up to the minute.

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Chris Ellis

Chris didn’t just learn technical knowledge—he learned how to interrogate financial information and understand the strategic impacts of accounting.

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Cilia connections

It might seem like an odd combination – a geneticist, a former zoologist turned medical researcher and two flocks of sheep...

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Civil justice

Civil justice

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Claire Auchinvole

One of the great things about Geography, according to second-year honours student Claire Auchinvole, is the scope it offers for a good argument.

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Claire Gordon

The DipGrad is proving to be an ideal way for Claire Gordon to gain the specialised study she needs to achieve her professional goals.

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Claire Green

I was an associate within a large Auckland commercial law firm, with three young children, often thinking how much I would like to return…

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Claire Lindsay

Planning is really about getting on with people, looking at the bigger picture and how the planning rules fit into this.

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Claire Maslin

Claire Maslin knows about variables and how they direct trends - both as a statistician, and personally.

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Claire Murray

Now an Auckland-based hotshot, Claire Murray remembers her Otago days fondly.

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Classics: Marchell Linzey

Marchell is an early childhood teacher, and producer and host of Dunedin children's radio show ‘Space Station Kiwi’ with listeners all over the world.

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Claudia Lewis

Claudia Lewis has long held a dream of becoming a doctor – “throughout my childhood I was fascinated by the human body – how things go wrong and how to fix them”.


Clay Caird

Always intending to establish his own business venture, as his Master of Entrepreneurship studies suggest, Clay found inspiration in the form of some old rugby headgear lying around at home.

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Clean finance

Dr Ivan Diaz-Rainey, senior lecturer in the Department of Accountancy and Finance, is a committed member of both the Otago Climate Change Network (OCCNet)
and the Otago Energy Research Centre (OERC).


Climate changing identities

"I am interested in the social impact of climate change on the governance and identity with cultural landscapes."

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Climate migration

Climate migration

Dr Anthony Butler

Clinical colour

For decades, images from x-rays and scanners have been in black and white, at times limiting clinical diagnosis. But this is now changing with the development, in Christchurch, of the world's first colour CT scanner for medical imaging.

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Cognitive challenges

Cognitive challenges

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Cognitive imagery

Until about a decade ago, tremor and other motor impairments were considered the biggest burden of Parkinson’s disease.

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Cold hard facts

Satellite images can tell scientists a lot about the formation, cover and break-up of sea ice around Antarctica, but they can't show how thick that ice is or how it forms around ice shelves that clad almost half of the southern continent's coastline.

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Commercial realities

Science and innovation are key drivers of the knowledge economy, fuelled by growing interaction between academia, government and industry, and the boundaries between the three are blurring, says Dr Conor O’Kane (Management).

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Connecting the dots

Kidney specialist Dr Suetonia Palmer describes her work as “sorting the wheat from the chaff”.

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Consumption and lifestyle: changes over time

Consumption and lifestyle: changes over time


Corey Bragg

Corey Bragg is now an assistant research fellow at the Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE). The resources and people at Otagos Zoology department just blew him away.

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Cost & effect

Imagine a data-mining tool on par with Google or Amazon that allows decision-makers to quickly calculate the health impact, as well as the upfront and downstream costs of a new health intervention or policy change.

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Courtney McLauchlan

“I absolutely loved learning how biochemistry could work with other disciplines, and how it is right on the forefront of scientific innovation..."

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Criminal minds

Rapid advancements in genetics and neuroscience are providing new insights into the minds of criminals. The question now is, how should that information be used?

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Crystal Cassandra Paul

I wanted to involve myself in the health professional sector and I am interested in contributing more to the community. That is how I finally ended up choosing pharmacy. It involves a lot of communication with the patients.

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Crystal Lavulo

I really love the idea of having a career that can provide so many options after finishing my degree—these options include working in community or hospital pharmacies, conducting my own research, working in the pharmaceutical industry and running my very own pharmacy.

Brendan Gray

Cultures of success

For about 10 years Professor Brendan Gray has been studying what makes successful organisational or corporate cultures.

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Cutting edge

Cutting edge

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Cutting-edge techniques transform lives

Servicemen who suffered horrific facial injuries during the two world wars were given new hope as a result of the revolutionary plastic surgery techniques and treatments pioneered by two extraordinary University of Otago men.

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Cyanobacteria potential

We might be surrounded by plentiful alternative sources of fuel and not even know it.

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Damian Kearns

“During my time at Otago, I’ve been able to travel to 17 countries and learn a lot about various tourism industries and economies.”

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Damian Scarf

"Often students who’ve had to struggle become the best researchers."

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Damian Scarf

You will have heard the advice that the key to success is finding something you love.

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Dan Farhat

“A lot of students think economics is just crunching numbers and solving equations to find prices and quantities. But it’s really all about human behaviour and decisions."


Dana Lumsden

Without an Honours degree, and the experiences I gained from studying at Otago, I would not have landed a job within the media industry as quickly as I did, and I am thankful to the Department for all of its support.

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Daniel Kerse

"Technology has always fascinated me, especially the sort that's capable of sending information around the world at the speed of light."


Danielle Shanahan

For Danielle Shanahan the Wildlife Management course was the perfect stepping stone as she pursued her passion for conservation.


David Timothy Duval

I've always operated on the idea that if I'm not having fun teaching, students aren't having much fun learning.

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Dean Paterson

Because the last two years of Otago’s Radiation Therapy degree is evenly split between theory and practical, Dean felt fully prepared once he graduated ...

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Debbie Corson

As an Analyst for Deloitte in Auckland Debbie Corson prepares annual financial accounts for a range of small and medium sized businesses and trusts, including management accounts for a large charitable Auckland organisation.

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Debbie Sawers

 For Debbie Sawers a long and proud family history of studying at Otago meant leaving the Hawke’s Bay to study in Dunedin was as straight forward as picking which subject to major in.


Deborah Rowley

Deborah is currently employed by BP Australia Pty Ltd as an Environmental Project Manager, where her role requires her to manage BP’s environmental liabilities and liability prevention.

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Deep at fault: Core Processes

Otago scientists are drilling deep, gaining a better understanding of the processes at work within the South Island’s Alpine Fault and the impacts an earthquake is likely to have.


Deirdre Anderson

I hope to work with elite athletes and find ways of helping them become faster and stronger.

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Del Carlini

The core question of Del’s thesis is what enhances the ability of an armed force to adapt during conflict and what slows, disrupts or hinders that ability.


Demystifying statistics

Bridget Robson (Ngāti Raukawa) says one of her key goals and that of the centre, is to demystify statistics, showing them for what they are – “a powerful tool for all Māori”.

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Denise Potgieter

Lieutenant Denise Potgieter has always loved travelling and adventure. In fact, it was her sense of adventure that brought her to Otago in the first place.

Dental Tourism - University of Otago

Dental tourism - The most popular form of medical tourism

The New Zealand dental sector is likely to be challenged and disrupted by the growing phenomenon of dental tourism, the most popular form of medical tourism.

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Desiree Mulders

I searched for a distance learning course that would provide me with the knowledge I was seeking, the University of Otago’s Postgraduate Diploma in Musculoskeletal Management did just that.

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Diana Bowalgaha Ralalage

I’m excited about where all this will lead me, and I encourage everyone to dip their toes in postgraduate studies if they can.


Diane Ruwhiu

It's a long way from her initial career in the Royal New Zealand Airforce where she worked in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

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Dick Hitchings

“As far as getting a future-proof field to work in, you couldn’t do much better than biochemistry.”

Richie Poulton

Different methods, different results

Failing to replicate a research finding is not all bad and could, in fact, shed new light on the subject being investigated.

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Digging for answers

Tautala Asaua is aiming to rewrite the early prehistory of Samoa.

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Diplomatic answer?

With science-based issues the most pressing of our time, is science diplomacy heralding a new day or is it merely a false dawn?


Disabling disability

Dr Emma Wyeth (Ngāi Tahu) was awarded a three year Health Research Council of New Zealand Emerging Researcher First Grant for a project focused on outcomes among injured Māori.

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Donna Southorn

"I wanted to be able to know more about teen mothers’ views so I could better understand their challenges and priorities and become a more effective advocate.” 

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Dora Leahy

A budding interest in biology and chemistry at Taumarunui High School was the first step for Dora Leahy towards a career as a medical scientist.


Doug Heath

When he came to Otago Doug found the acoustics papers in Physics fitted his combined interests perfectly and qualified with a BSc in Physics and an MSc in Electronics.

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Dr Andrea Robinson

The decision to take on the Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine has sharpened my clinical skills and introduced more variety and enjoyment in my role as a GP.

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Dr Axel Zeitler

German-born Axel Zeitler loves New Zealand. But it did seem very far away. But when Otago’s Department of Pharmacy proposed a joint project with Cambridge University, looking at using laser technology to investigate the structure of pharmaceuticals, it felt the like the perfect solution for Axel.

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Dr Axel Zeitler

PhD (2007), PGCert (2003), Staatsexamen (Würzburg) (2002)

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Dr Bastiaan Star

Bastiaan Star remembers the first papers he read when he embarked on his PhD in population genetic theory. “They were completely incomprehensible. I could not understand them at all.”

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Dr Charlotte King

Charlotte King’s world is full of mystery and intrigue, and she would have it no other way: it’s exactly the world she dreamed of as a child.

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Dr Craig Rodger

Trying to understand how the sun’s activity impacts upon our world here on Earth occupies the days and nights of Physics lecturer Craig Rodger.

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Dr Damien Mather

The path to becoming a senior lecturer is not always through academia. Damien has a background broader than most.

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Dr Daniela Rosenstreich

Dr Daniela Rosentreich recommends all PhD students ask themselves one fundamental question: “Are you there for the ride, or are you there for the qualification?”

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Dr Elisabeth Liebert

Elisabeth Liebert’s Master’s degree led her deep into the world of John Milton, which in turn led her to Otago’s John Hale, an international authority on the renaissance poet. So when she embarked on her PhD, it was her choice of supervisor that brought her – intellectually, at least – to Otago.

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Dr Grant Dick

There are many ways to solve a complex mathematical problem. You can do it the old-fashioned way, using pen and paper.

Harley Atkinson, Pharmacy Graduate

Dr Hartley Atkinson

MPharm (1983), PhD (1989)

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Dr Helen Tregidga

Helen Tregidga says she loved doing her PhD at the time. And looking back, she loved it even more.

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Dr Iain Bell

The Diploma has provided a solid foundation, and I highly recommend it to all Health Professionals that deal with musculoskeletal problems.

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Dr Joshua Ramsay

"I simply like problem solving and understanding living organisms."

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Dr Kirsten Robertson

A background in social psychology gives Kirsten Robertson an edge when it comes to researching and teaching marketing…

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Dr Leah Watkins

“There’s little research on the implications of very young children being targeted as consumers."

Lynn Cheong, Pharmacy Graduate

Dr Lynn Cheong

PhD (USYD 2015), BPharm (Otago 2007)

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Dr Matthew Schofield

When Matthew Schofield was entertaining the idea of a PhD, a work colleague gave advice that would echo for years to come: “Choose your supervisor well. It will make or break the PhD.”

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Dr Matthew Stephen

I accepted the invitation to the honours programme believing that Politics offered me the best chances to extend my intellectual horizons while also keeping a toe in the door of employability.

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Dr Mele Taumoepeau

PhD study was, says Mele, a juggle. And a somewhat self-indulgent one at that.

Norman Chieng, Pharmacy Graduate

Dr Norman Chieng

PhD (2008), PGDip Pharm (2004), BPharm (2002)

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Dr Paul Roche

Undertaking a PhD in an area with few job prospects was both a help and a hindrance for Paul Roche.

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Dr Peter Mace

"What excites me about my work is ... making new discoveries that you are the first person to know about, ever."

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Dr Rawinia Higgins

Leaving her whanau was the most important, and most painful, aspect of coming to Otago for her postgraduate years, says Dr Rawinia Higgins.

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Dr Raymond Staals

Dr Raymond Staals worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the Fineran lab, Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

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Dr Robert Peden

If Robert Peden had his way, he would start on another PhD tomorrow. “I loved every minute of it,” he says. “It was an absolute privilege. It was one of the most challenging, rewarding, satisfying and interesting things I have ever done.”

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Dr Rosanna Rahman

“Your understanding of your topic increases exponentially when you write”

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Dr Rosemary Overell

Dr Rosemary Overell’s research ranges from extreme death metal music in Japan to how ‘hoarders’ are represented on television.

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Dr Shelagh Ferguson

“It’s perfect to be part of a prestigious University and still be able to climb a 2000 metre peak at the weekend – there are not many places where you can do that.”

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Dr Tony Garry

How much is marketing about what is being bought and sold, and how much is it about the people involved in the transactions?

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Dr Tracy Melzer

"Imaging is amazing, it has completely revolutionised medicine."

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Driving test

Postdoctoral research fellow Dr Debbie Hopkins is contributing to the BEATS Study, leading research into driver licensing and the use of information communication technologies by young people.

Elisabeth Wells

Drug use widespread

Christchurch biostatisticians Associate Professor Elisabeth Wells and Magnus McGee, with Dunedin colleagues Dr Joanne Baxter and Jesse Kokaua, have been quietly "peeling the onion" on New Zealand's non-medical drug use.

Duncan Sarkies

"It’s my opinion that the Otago University Theatre Studies programme provides the best practical ‘on-your-feet’ introductory training for theatre in New Zealand.”
Duncan Sarkies

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Dunedin's global focus

Dunedin’s changing connections with the rest of the world are the focus of the “Global Dunedin” project.

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Dunedin: 50 forward

Beyond the immediate doom-and-gloom headlines about business closures and redundancies, what might work be like for people in Dunedin up to 50 years into the future?

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Dynamic delivery

A key aim for University of Otago, Wellington’s Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness (BODE3) Programme is to build capacity and academic rigour in New Zealand in the estimation of disease burden, cost-effectiveness and equity impacts of health sector interventions.

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Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research

Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research 2010: Jessica Palmer, Dr Simone Celine Marshall and Associate Professor Richard Gearry

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Economic vampires

By building artificial societies Dr Dan Farhat can explore labour market outcomes – and communities plagued by “vampires”.

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Educational benefits

Educational benefits

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Edward Kuipers

Eddy Kuipers has turned his passion for health and fitness into a career.

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Electricity evolution

Electricity evolution

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Elizabeth Young

Because a degree in Religious Studies covers so many different religious and cultural practices and beliefs, I am able to really connect with my clients as I actually know and understand where they come from and why they believe what they believe and do what they do.

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Ella Gordon-Latty

“Studying Politics gave me one of the most powerful insights – it enabled me to understand the mechanics of power."

Ellen Pullar

"I've always been a bit of a film geek so was excited to be able to watch a variety of different types of films and learn more about how films are put together."

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Elliot Munro

“It was a real step up from high school, especially all the facilities for practical work.”

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Eman Ghandour

After finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the end of last year, Eman started working as a Youth Case Worker for the Dunedin Red Cross, focused on how best to settle former refugee youth into New Zealand and into Dunedin.

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Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper is taking the world outdoor clothing market in her stride.

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Emily Mason

Emily Mason wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she started at Otago.


Emily Robinson

Immediately after graduating with a double degree, including a BSc in Physiology, Emily won a job at Starship Hospital in the Respiratory and Sleep Physiology laboratory.

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Emma Fairs

Emma Master’s by thesis answered the questions “what makes and keeps Osteopath clinicians competent”.

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Emma Salis

Emma's PhD project centred on investigating the different factors affecting glucose concentrations in premature babies with a focus on high blood glucose.

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Emma Wade

Emma is employed as a postdoctoral fellow pursuing a project which has grown out of her PhD: trying to untangle the signalling pathways which maintain skeletal homeostasis.


Enacting Māori leadership

Merata’s research activities have over-arching themes of supporting Māori leadership, community and education.

Prof David Murdoch

Endocarditis breakthrough

Conventional wisdom in medicine has been that heart valve infection, or endocarditis, is most likely to have been caused by valve damage following rheumatic fever during childhood or adolescence.

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Engaging in games

Common children’s games have been shown to help hyperactive children learn better self-control and may provide a longer-lasting treatment for ADHD.

Associate Professor Brent Lovelock

Enjoying the outdoors

Society may have to rethink ways of encouraging children into enjoying the outdoors.

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Entrepreneurial journey

Entrepreneurial journey


Entrepreneurial skills just as important for restaurant owners as serving good food

A study by Dr Craig Lee has pinpointed success factors that have shaped some of the top-performing, independent restaurants in Australia.

Louise Signal

Environmental obesity

New Zealand children live in an environment where unhealthy food is more heavily promoted, more accessible and, for the most part, cheaper than healthy food.

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Epidemic proportions

Professor Michael Baker believes we need to learn from the past to help meet the challenges presented by new pandemic diseases.

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Erica Buxton

“The great thing about the Treasury is that it’s a relatively flat structure. You get opportunities that are quite rare in graduate jobs.”

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Erin Wilson

“I am now a qualified teacher but I’m still learning - the children teach me something new every day."

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Estelle Sun

At the age of 17 Estelle Sun’s parents proposed the idea of sending her overseas for her higher education. Estelle eagerly packed her bags and left China destined for New Zealand.

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Every stitch has a story

Department of Marketing consumer behaviourist Dr Shelagh Ferguson is exploring people's emotional attachments to clothes.

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Fabric of research

A better understanding of how fabrics perform – and why – is the aim of new research being conducted at Otago’s Department of Applied Sciences (Clothing and Textile Sciences) with the help of funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Wool Industry Research Ltd and industry partners.

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Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa

The study of law as well as its practice fosters a particular type of individual and personality – one Fanaafi Aiono-Le Tagaloa…

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Farah Hamid

The perfect combination of math, chemistry, and business, and to help the community too!

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He Kitenga Features

Rebecca Campbell

Fertile research. Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research

New research on how the brain influences fertility could eventually result in improved ways of controlling conception and contraception.

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Fighting superbugs

Fighting superbugs

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Filipo Levi

Filipo Levi says "it was very hard at the beginning", fitting in university studies with his rugby playing. Nonetheless, plenty of hard work, determination and support ensured success.

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Fiona Edgar

When teaching topics such as human resource management, how better to practise what you preach than with the students themselves?

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Fiona Hely

"I wanted to be able to use my maths skills in practical applications for the real world.”


Fiona Simpson

Fiona completed a Bachelor in Physical Education, and a BSc in Human Nutrition, then went on to do a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics.

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Fiona Woodfield

Taking a Bachelor of Commerce in international business and economics, with a minor in Spanish, has taken Fiona Woodfield around the world.

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Firsts for women

In 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world to grant women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. By this time, however, a young teacher, Caroline Freeman, had already broken new ground for women at the University of Otago.

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Fishing for change

A team of scientists from the University of Otago is making big waves on the East Otago coast, their research a key factor in forcing a change in fisheries legislation after just two years of work.

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Flower power

Dr Richard Macknight (Biochemistry) is undertaking research that aims to discover how legumes, such as peas, use seasonal changes in day length and temperature to precisely control their flowering time, and to understand how this process has evolved to allow natural populations to grow in new geographical regions.

Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith

Following ancient DNA trails

A surprise find of human remains with distinctly Polynesian characteristics in a South American museum has provided a new focus of research into human migration in the Pacific and how the Pacific was settled.

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Food for thought

With programmes currently underway in Kenya, Indonesia and India, Otago nutritionists are working with local collaborators to develop food-based strategies to improve the health and development of young children.

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Food miles: who cares?

Department of Marketing researchers have been looking at whether food miles influence UK consumers' food-purchasing decisions.

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Food wastelands

Many New Zealand households are routinely discarding perfectly good food, according to Dr Miranda Mirosa (Food Science).

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For better or worse?

For better or worse?

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For the record

Member of iconic Dunedin band The Chills, Dr Oli Wilson is bringing an insider’s perspective.

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Frailty factor

Frailty factor

Frankie Daroux

Frankie completed a BSc in Clothing and Textile Sciences and then an MSc in 2009. The research for her Masters explored how washing a garment might mask forensic evidence of blunt force trauma. She is now working as a Graduate Product evaluator for Fisher and Paykel’s washing machine range.

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Franky Maslin

"I really loved learning about the law and its many possibilities to shape and mould so many real-life scenarios."


Freya Broughton-Ansin

Ask Freya Broughton what’s so cool about statistics and it’s hard to get her to stop…. “Statistics is really useful, in every area of endeavour! I love how applicable it is in all sorts of research and in everyday life – even with NCEA results…”

Philippa Howden Chapman

From academia to action

Over the last decade Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman and the team from He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme (Public Health, Wellington) have helped revolutionise how policy-makers and the public see the average New Zealand house.

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From pole to pole

From the Antarctic to the Arctic, Otago researchers are at the forefront of several influential investigations that should help inform future decision-making across the globe.

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From the beginning

From the beginning

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Two Otago scientists are working on a project that could be a world-changer – a combination of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting back on the use of fossil fuels.


Fussy fish use genetic compatibility to pick partners from afar

When salmon spawn, the sperm of competing males are in an all-or-nothing race to be the first to reach and fertilise the eggs.

Gabriel (Gabe) Mathieson

Gabriel (Gabe) Mathieson who completed a DipGrad in Advertising

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Gabriella Lindberg

PhD student, Gabriella Lindberg, is part of a team working on the difficult task of printing large, viable pieces of cartilage to ultimately be used as replacement tissue in human surgery.


Game-changing Parkinson's research

Dr Louise Parr-Brownlie’s (Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Pikiao) career as a research academic has been entirely devoted to Parkinson’s disease– a devotion that is now receiving international attention and generous Neurological Foundation funding.

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Garrick Cowley

Within a year of graduating from Otago with his LLB, Garrick Cowley found himself on an international stage facing his biggest legal…

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Gaurav Ganve

When Gaurav Ganve first discovered the concepts of ‘big data’ and ‘analytics’, he reckoned data mining and machine learning could generate some of the most exciting career opportunities of the 21st century.

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Gemma Dickson

Ask Gemma Dickson about one of the most interesting biochemistry classes she's taken, and she'll tell you about the time she found a never-before-discovered transposable element in a Candida albicans sample.

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Gemma Feeney

“There’s something special about the College of Education; the small cohort means you build really strong relationships with your fellow students and with the lecturers.”


Gener Delos Santos

 I’m involved in helping to maintain and set up occupational medical support in various industrial sectors.

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Genetic clues

Could the humble aspirin be effective in the fight against breast cancer?

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Genetic jeopardy

Genetic jeopardy

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Geoffrey Miller

"I'm now able to work on translations from anywhere in the world as a freelance translator, which is amazing".

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George Wiggins

Skiing, socialising with work mates, and great research opportunities are all reasons George Wiggins recommends postgraduate study at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

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Georgia Staples

Georgia Staples has been interested in health and medicine for as long as she can remember.

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Gerard Graham

As a Finance Business Partner for BNZ, Gerard Graham supports business units to meet their financial plans and prepare for the future.

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Gianna Leoni

Gianna Leoni is researching attitudes towards te reo in Government departments.

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Gillian Abel

Gillian's PhD became such a part of her daily life that when she finally submitted, she remembers feeling “quite bereft. It was like giving a baby away”.

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Glenn Summerhayes

“Archaeology is about unlocking the past – it’s a huge privilege.”

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Global DNA

A principal investigator in the National Geographic Genographic Project, Professor Lisa Matisoo-Smith’s work is revealing the global diversity of our New Zealand DNA.

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Global health

The Centre for International health plays a significant role in projects in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. 

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Going soft

Going soft

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Golden career

2018 Distinguished Research Medal winner Professor Dave Craw is an Otago man and Otago is gold country: unsurprisingly, this has been a focus of his work as a geologist.

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Good teacher, bad teacher

Most of us have at least one story of an inspirational schoolteacher who opened our minds to learning – or the other extreme of a terrible" one who made our learning experience an ordeal, one forever associated with memories we'd rather forget.

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Good-natured ageing

Good-natured ageing


Graham Lowe

A Bachelor in Physical Education awarded with Honours, and a Masters in Physical Education, looking particularly at exercise physiology and exercise prescription… these sound like ideal qualifications for a sports coach, and Graham Lowe is coaching the best.


Griffin Leonard

"We’re very lucky to have the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago and I feel fortunate to be able to do postgraduate study here."

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Gut instincts

Gut instincts

Gerald Tannock

Gut response

Professor Gerald Tannock fell in love with microbiology on his very first assignment as a trainee diagnostic laboratory technologist at Dunedin Public Hospital.


Guy Ryan

I’m finishing off my Masters – making a 24-minute documentary dealing with some massive social and environmental issues, writing a thesis, and engaged in some exciting projects combining two of my passions – design and film [and surfing] – life is sweet!”

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Gwynaeth McIntyre

"Personally, I love the politics, the intrigue, the murder and mayhem of the Roman imperial period."

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Hamish Milmine

For Hamish Milmine, dentistry offers everything he ever wanted in a career.


Hannah Forrest

“I really like the way this course has opened my eyes to what’s involved – it’s much more analytical and science based rather than opinion – you can’t believe those CSI programmes after all…."

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Hannah Kennedy

 Hannah Kennedy likes hands-on learning rather than spending all day with her head in a book.

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Hard-wired for happiness?

How much of our mood is hard-wired and how much is because you are simply having a bad day? It's a question researchers like Dr Tamlin Conner (Department of Psychology) are pondering as they look to understand the role genes play in how we feel.

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Harriet Taylor

Don’t stress too much about what you want to study at university, says Harriet Taylor.

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Harry Saunderson-Warner

"Studying social anthropology gave me the ability to look at the world in a new way."


Hauora Māori in policy and practise

Examine the work of Otago National Centre for Lifecourse Research’s Dr Reremoana (Moana) Theodore (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) and you’ll see two overarching themes deeply associated with Māori health and education.

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Hayden Holmes

Hayden Holmes, former Air Force corporal in logistics, BCom in economics University of Otago, and now forging a new career in the health sector, says he is really enjoying his Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health.

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Hayleigh Miller

Hayleigh is now working on completing her Bachelor of Medicine (MBChB) and will graduate at the end of 2018.

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Healing the land

The Mahu Whenua land covenants provide an unprecedented opportunity for Catchments Otago researchers to explore new models for integrated landscape management.

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Health and home

Over the last decade Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman has repeatedly drawn attention to the detrimental health and social effects of low-quality housing and fragmented policy in housing, cities and energy.

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Healthy challenges

For decades Otago’s people have been instrumental in helping to address the health challenges of their time.

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Heart monitor breakthrough

Researchers from the University of Otago, Christchurch have implanted the world’s first heart monitor, which gives daily updates of pressure changes in chronic cardiac patients.

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Heart of the family

Heart of the family

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Heidi Boulter

Heidi could write you a note - but that's about it.


Helen Chapman

Helen Chapman’s experience provides support for the idea that in order to plan for the future you have to understand the past.

Helen Paterson

Helen Paterson

Whilst completing my specialist medical training I gained a research-based Masters of Medical Science on "LNG-IUD (levonorgestrel intrauterine device) use in adolescents in New Zealand".

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Hemi McKechnie

My first year in the Tū Kahika Programme set me up well for Health Sciences and also was the year we were further exposed to many health professions and people in these areas.

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Herman Visagie

Otago gives you a solid background, so keep your eyes and ears open and opportunities will present themselves.

Hilary Hickling DipGrad(FINC)

Hilary Hickling studying towards a DipGrad in Finance


Hillary McCracken

Hillary McCracken completed a BSc (Hon) degree in Food Science in 2006. Following the completion of her degree she was accepted into the Fonterra Graduate Technical programme commonly referred to as the FGTP programme.

Richard Walter and Hallie Buckley

History unearthed

A project to return ancestral remains to one of the earliest sites of Māori settlement in New Zealand is providing a rich source of data for researchers in the Departments of Anthropology, and Anatomy and Structural Biology.

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History: David Wilson

I’m David Wilson, and I am the Clerk of the House of Representatives at Parliament.

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Hobert Sasa

Hobert Sasa says he has "a strong sense of belonging here". The lecturers, he says, are "awesome" - and the University's Pacific Islands Centre is his "second home".


How can the Māori perspective be used to shape the scientific world?

A joint project with Otago, AUT, Victoria and Waikato is studying whether and how fundamental science relates to Māori concerns, looking at developing processes that help Māori knowledge, expertise and effort be brought into project planning.

Accounting for natural resources

How do companies account for their use of natural resources?

The University of Otago Business School is leading New Zealand research into understanding how companies are accounting for their use of natural resources.


How is Big Data and Artificial Intelligence transforming the NZ workplace?

What is the effect of Big Data and AI on the New Zealand workplace, and how should we start preparing for a more technological future?


How teamwork affects hospital performance and patient care

Otago researchers have been investigating how organisational culture is perceived by District Health Boards’ (DHBs) members and their senior executive teams, and its affect on hospital performance and patient care. 


How to capture more value from increased tourism?

One solution is matching what we have to offer with what the visitor understands; by improving the experience of the tourist, they are then encouraged to lengthen their stay.

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Hunting the Culpable Gene

Otago PhD student Emma Wade’s discovery of a hidden gene responsible for bone disease is helping families around the world.

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Ian Chapman

"We’re teaching the three disciplines and how they interact. What students turn their skills to then is up to them."


Improving cultural sensitivity in the tourism industry

Research highlights the need for training and tools to increase cultural awareness and help businesses prepare for North Asian visitors.

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Ingrid Ambrosiussen

“My time studying the Bachelor of Teaching was some of the most valuable years of my life."

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Inner journey

... for plenty of New Zealanders, being both Māori and Pakeha is pretty normal. It’s a message of integration, not division.

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Innovative Environmental DNA Research Earns Otago Researchers National Science Challenge Grant

An innovative use of the detritus of marine life to measure bio-diversity has earned a team of Otago researchers a national Sustainable Seas Science Challenge Grant.

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Innovative potential

The academic and commercial worlds need each other, but where research is not sufficiently advanced to justify the risk of investment, there is often a gap.

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Insights in indigenous rights

Otago research on indigenous peoples’ legal rights is attracting global attention.

Angela Wanhalla

Inter-racial Connections. Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research.

Dr Angela Wanhalla is a highly-credentialled historian and has a swag of awards to prove she is one of New Zealand's brightest young researchers.

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International strategy

Internationalisation is vital for New Zealand business. 

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Internet impacts ‘oldest profession’

The world’s “oldest profession” is undergoing changes due to technology and a University of Otago, Christchurch researcher is at the forefront of investigations into the phenomenon.

Sheila Skeaff

Iodine ideas

In 1996 when Sheila Skeaff began her PhD research on iodine deficiency she didn't imagine she'd still be investigating the same issue 13 years later.


Isara Treesahakiat

For her Masters degree, Jay studied the religious practices of an early-20th century Buddhist monk from Northern Thailand, Khruba Sriwichai, who played a significant role in resisting the government's reforms for Buddhist practices.

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Isotopic ”fingerprints” fight fakes

With key export markets becoming increasingly conscious of the provenance of food, researchers have turned to regionally-distinct isotopic geochemical signals in soils and rain to create unique “fingerprints” that provide geographical authentication.


Jack Keogh

Jack has used his Entrepreneurship learning to develop a model for marae-based teaching.

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Jackie Shaw

"Otago had a great mix of practical skills and theory and you knew you were being taught by the best. All the lecturers have been (and some still are) in the industry, continuously developing themselves."

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Jaimie Tucker

"International Business is perfect for anyone who's passionate about business but isn't sure exactly which direction they want to go in"

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James Crowley

“We’re basically like engineers or architects, but rather than designing buildings, we’re designing molecules.”

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James Sandison

While studying Health Sciences First Year at the University of Otago’s Dunedin campus, James Sandison attended an introductory seminar about Radiation Therapy after noticing the slogan ‘technology meets caring’.

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Jamie Wood

When Jamie Wood’s Dunedin school team won a Young Enterprise Scheme regional challenge she had her first taste of business success.

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Jane Oliver

“I worked on several projects with major New Zealand companies as part of my study, which really exposed me to what the industry was like.”

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Janine Jattan

“Otago prepared us well for the ‘real world’. We got trained in best practice so our standards are exceptionally high."

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Janis Cheng

“The reason I can speak confidently or write an essay overnight is purely because of Theatre Studies at Otago."

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Jaye Moors

Most new students expect challenges in their first year at University, but Jaye Moors had the added pressure of acclimatising to Dunedin’s climate after moving from Samoa.

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Jean-Pierre (JP) Meyer

BPharm (2007), PGCertPharm (2010), Antimicrobial Stewardship Certificate (Infectious Diseases Pharmacists in America 2013/14)

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Jenifer Lamie

I came to Otago to study because I loved the multi-disciplinarity of the Master of International Studies degree.

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Jennifer Macindoe

"The skills I learned in the first three years – research, writing, critiquing, always working to deadline... "


Jenny Campbell

Jenny now works for Fonterra as Lead Regulatory Strategist for the Global Ingredients and Foodservices business.


Jenny McDonald

After studying medicine, Jenny re-trained in computer science at Otago by doing a Diploma for Graduates. She then became the director of the Educational Media unit at the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago


Jenny Stein

As an exploration geologist, Jenny has travelled the world while putting her Geology degree to good use.

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Jessica Craig

Coming to Otago for its "world-class reputation" and the "scarfie experience," Jessica chose to study a wide range of science papers in her first year and go from there.


Jessica Craig

Jessica Craig enjoyed Biology and Chemistry at secondary school, and wanted to study something similar. Coming to Otago for its “world-class reputation” and the “scarfie experience,” she chose to study a wide range of science papers in her first year and go from there.


Jessica North

Jessica North completed her Masters in Environmental Science at Otago and now she travels the world as an environmental consultant.

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Jessie Garland

We’re making significant discoveries about what life was like in 19th century Christchurch as we collect artefacts from all kinds of archaeological sites.


Jim Cotter

Our bodies are designed to be physically stressed says Dr Jim Cotter, lecturer in exercise and environmental physiology at the School of Physical Education.

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Jimmy Van der Pauw

The School of Surveying at Otago is New Zealand’s only national school of surveying - students are very lucky to have a knowledgeable and enthusiastic group of lecturers who deliver a well-rounded skillset to the students – “something that I have used every day of my career thus far”.

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Jo McGilchrist

When she set out to study a Bachelor of Commerce, Jo McGilchrist never thought she'd end up majoring in economics, nor did she think she would do honours. But after studying an array of subjects, she's certain that economics was the right choice.


Joanna Hikaka

I loved my time at Otago University. I enjoyed being part of the School of Pharmacy where you went through the same courses with the same students for 3 years and built long lasting professional as well as personal relationships.

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Joanne Choi

Dental Technology offers graduates a host of career choices, says Joanne Choi, who is now lecturing at Otago while she completes her PhD.

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Joanne Lee

My time working on the undergraduate paper was the catalyst for my decision to undertake a Master’s degree and pursue a full year of research.


Job satisfaction - not money - is the key to workplace performance

Earning money may be an important reason for working, but it isn’t the biggest motivator. Accountancy and Finance lecturer Nicola Beatson studies people in accounting.


John Fountain

John found that one of the best aspects of the course was to be taught by staff that not only have the academic credentials but, "the practical, hands-on background in start-up ventures and advising others in such."

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John Garthwaite

“Video games are full of Spartans. Hercules and Xena have their own TV shows. They are great characters and great stories.”


John Lynch

John Lynch is a graduate of the Geographic information systems (GIS) course at Otago and now works as a GIS analyst for a natural gas company in Australia

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John Tagg

Seeking knowledge can be fun, says lecturer John Tagg. "It doesn't have to be a dreary process."

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Jon Keyzer

“My time here has shed light on what I can do and what I am capable of, I wouldn’t have known that without my supervisor, without my department and without a community of supporting peers.”

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Jonathan Broom

Having completed one year of his Psychology degree, Jonathan is enthusiastic about the more specialised study which beckons in his second and third years.

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Jonathan Dufour

The museums, the many art galleries and the people I encountered in Paris all made it worthwhile.


Jonathan Zsofi

“The department is brilliant and the teaching was excellent. My mind was opened by MFCO, it introduced me to new perspectives on film and life.”

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Jordan Dickson

“The knowledge of what has come before me and what is happening in theatres around the globe, inspires and informs my own practice constantly."

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Joseph Panapa

"I had many transferrable skills, gained from family, my culture, working in factories, playing sport and living in South Auckland, that enabled me to relate to the content in the social work papers."


Josh Newman

“Josh Newman is passionate about Natural History. This passion has at times seen him researching Shearwaters in New Zealand's Sub Antarctic, snorkeling with Lion Fish in the Red Sea, climbing Mountains in the Himalayas, and marveling at the universe in his own backyard.”

Joshua Freeman, Pharmacy Graduate

Joshua Freeman

BPharm (2007), PGCertPharm (Clinical Pharmacy, 2010)

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Joy Kwok

A degree in Linguistics provided the perfect foundation for Otago graduate Joy Kwok to pursue a career in speech therapy.


Julia Prier

Julia Prier was an assistant research fellow using optogenetics to explore pathological pathways in a brain with parkinsons.


Just how much of a role should social media play in employee selection?

Management researcher Dr Paula O’Kane is interested in how technology impacts how we work, and has explored how and why organisations are using social media in the workplace.

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Kacy Cosgrove

“I now have the ability to mix sciences and humanities together, and bridge the gap between humans and technology.”

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Karen Phillips

"I came to Otago because it offered me the chance to combine both Teaching and Theatre Studies at the same time."


Kasey Brown

Studying at Otago was always the way for me.

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Kate Beer

In her final year of a Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Kate Beer says she's enjoyed everything about studying at Otago so far.

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Kate Gidlow-Black

Kate Gidlow-Black attended high school in Christchurch but her family has now moved to Nelson and Kate is looking forward to joining them and eventually establishing her own dental practice in that city.

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Kate Newton

Kate found English helped her with journalism by driving home the power of the written or spoken word.

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Katie Chong

“We have learned that a particle can be in two different places at once ...”

Katie Owens

Katie Owens

PhD (2014), BPharm(credit)2008

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Keith Chau

Keith Chau reckons he stumbled into Finance, but it's clear he fell on his feet.


Keith Payne

Keiths passion for wildlife and interest in electronics combine in telemetry of NZ wildlife, he hopes to combine them in a PhD in wildlife science and electronics.

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Kelli Te Maihāroa - Expired

“My research highlights the peaceful vision that many of our tīpuna held for a brighter future for their mokopuna (grandchildren).”

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Kelly Nafatali

“Taking Māori Studies has been a journey in self-discovery – who I am and where I come from."

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Ken Ritchie

It took a long time for Ken to discover he had dyslexia.

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Keresoma Leaupepe

Keresoma Leaupepe’s interest in health and disease, and in particular how they impact on his Samoan community has been his motivation all through his study at the University of Otago.

Keron Niles

Keron Niles is working towards a PhD in Energy studies, when he has completed his PhD he will return to Trinidad and Tobago and probably work as a policy analyst

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Kilimanjaro’s glacial clues

Sticking thousands of metres up into the atmosphere, it is little wonder that climatologists are looking to mighty Mount Kilimanjaro and its unique glaciers to act like climate change sensors.

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Kim Ton

“Being able to work independently in a laboratory is important if you want to have a career as a scientist. I have learned that at the University of Otago, Christchurch.’’


Kiri McComb

Kiri McComb’s start in Chemistry was interesting to say the least. It was not until halfway through his final year of High School, after much coaxing from his Science teacher that he decided to give Chemistry a go.


Kirsten Bird

A PE graduate from Otago, Kirsten Bird now organises the annual Oxfam Trailwalker event, Oxfam's largest fundraising event.


Kirstin McKenzie

Kirstin McKenzie is doing what many young scientists dream of: she’s training in forensics, and working for ESR (Environmental Science and Research), New Zealand’s independent forensic science institute.

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Koro Dickinson

"My links with my whanau, tribe and the University of Otago will always remain strong."

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Kurt McEwen

My Otago course covered quite a spectrum from abstract and conceptual design thinking to pragmatic subjects such as physics, mathematics and manufacturing principles.

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Kyle Wilby

An opportunity to advance his research, clinical, and teaching interests and a desire for a lifestyle change combined to lead Dr Kyle Wilby to the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago.

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Kylie Robinson

 After earning her degree in computer science at Otago, Kylie joined Animation Research Ltd, the Dunedin-based company that became famous for producing the America's Cup graphics.


Lani Alo

“I wanted the right course for the type of music that I do and that I want to do when I’m older, and I found that at Otago.”

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Laura Fraser

When you choose to study law at Otago, you choose to receive exposure to world class teaching and a wide range of stimulating subjects

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Laurel Quirke

Links between the University of Otago and AgResearch enabled through the Centre for Reproduction and Genomics are benefiting leading science programmes and fast-tracking promising science careers.

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Laurelle Smith

Laurelle's project focuses on sleep disturbances in children, focusing on children who are being treated for Sleep Disordered Breathing.

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Lauren Chambers

"I decided to make Classics my major at Otago because it combines everything I am interested in: literature, history, languages, art, and mythology as well as architecture and archaeology."

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Lauren McEwan-Nugent

Lauren McEwan-Nugent maintains that one of the strengths of Religious Studies is its extraordinary relevance to the world around us.

Lauren Otis

Lauren Otis of the National Food Laboratory in California started at Otago with a degree in Consumer Food Science

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Lauren Tooley

“Doing lab work every week with approachable professors makes learning a lot easier.”

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Laurie Evans

“The Master of International Studies gives you a skill set that lets you tackle a whole host of problems."

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Law on a global scale

Otago senior lecturer Stephen Smith believes the proceedings of the International Criminal Court are of increasing importance for New Zealand.

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Laws of outer space

Research by University of Otago PhD candidate Maria Pozza shows that, when it comes to international law, space really is "the final frontier".

Leanne Te Karu, Pharmacy Graduate

Leanne Te Karu

DipPharm, PGCertHerbalMeds, PGDipClinPharm, MHSc(Hons), PGCert(Prescribing)

Malcolm Cone

Learning from experience

A FRST-funded project is allowing business researchers to take a much closer look at how - and how well - New Zealand exporters are doing business in the key emerging markets of China and India.


Learning in the dark

The revival of an ancient Māori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.

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Learning in the dark

The revival of an ancient maori method of teaching in the dark has had spectacular results for Dr Karyn Paringatai and her students.

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Leesa McKay

“Studying was one of the best choices I’ve made, early childhood education is an awesome career and all I can say is I wouldn’t change it for the world, I may have finished studying but my learning journey is far from over.”

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Leigh Clutterbuck Young

“Geography at university is very different from school … there are so many subjects we had never touched on.”

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Leonard Guy

"For someone in my position- entering Computer Science with a degree from a completely different academic field - the DipGrad is a required qualification before a postgraduate diploma or master's degree can be pursued; it was the only choice."

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Lesieli Seaton

“I highly recommend the Te Pōkai programme because you will not only go on a journey of learning to be a teacher but you will discover a new sense of identity. Teaching kaupapa maori starts with knowing who you are and valuing your own history."

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Lessons in politeness and performance

Lessons in politeness and performance

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Let there be colour

Let there be colour

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Liam McIlvanney

“If you want to study literature you have an advantage if you write.”

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Libby Hamilton

"Studying contemporary music really opened my eyes to the intricate craftsmanship behind writing a good song."

Professor Gareth Jones & Maja Whitaker

Life after death

“Repeatedly, we see the wishes of the living take precedence over the wishes of the dead. This is not based on ethics, but on expediency.”

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Life saver

Life saver

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Lindsay Robertson

After completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (DPH) at the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Lindsay decided to stay on to complete her master's in Public Health and a PhD.

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Lindy Fraser

"The beauty of this degree is that it doesn't narrow you down in terms of job prospects."


Line managers influence wellness of staff

Many organisations assume their HRM policies work and deliver optimum staff performance and therefore productivity to their true is this?

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Lisa Marshall

The content in these papers has vastly increased my knowledge around pain and the complexities of managing this for my patients.

Lisa McClintock

Lisa McClintock was going to be a Doctor, but discovered a passion for chemistry and was hooked. She now works at Fonterra, improving products using chemistry in the bakery rather than the lab.

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Lisa Reynolds

A Bachelor of Science graduate, Lisa works as an administrator and studied part-time to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health. 

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Liz Goodin

Her research focussed on the gene MET, which is important in a rare bone disease in children called Osteofibrous Dysplasia.

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Liz Holland

Liz Holland admits to somewhat divided loyalties when watching the All Blacks play the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup semi-final. The Wallabies were, after all, wearing Canterbury clothing that she had helped to design.


Lloyd Burr

I work with some of the country’s most experienced and renowned journalists for New Zealand’s biggest multi-media company – my future is bright and Otago is where it all started.

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Lloyd McGinty

It’s not easy being green, which is precisely why businesses rely on people like Lloyd McGinty to ease the pressure.


Logan Elliott

“When I found out about the Master of Entrepreneurship at the end of my BSc I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do. I got to meet 'entrepreneurial types' and learn more about business!”

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Logan Seddon

Logan Seddon, radiation therapist, has no trouble listing the advantages of his career.

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Longitudinal lessons

During its more than 30 years of existence, researchers from the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) have published an average of one paper every month.

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Longitudinal studies

The University of Otago hosts two of the most significant longitudinal studies in the world – the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study and the Christchurch Health and Development Study.

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Looking at lakes

New Zealand, with 3,500 lakes, faces many freshwater issues, yet has relatively few qualified people to help solve them.


Louise Sandford

When Louise Sandford completed her undergraduate degree in Anatomy, she never imagined that her postgraduate studies would take her to a dream job in Wellington with one of the largest non-profit organisations in New Zealand. But this is exactly what happened, and Louise is now the National Research and Policy Manager for the Cancer Society.


Loveday Kempthorne

Loveday Kempthorne completed a BSc with Honours in Maths in 1996. The following year she also completed a BA Honours in French. She continued on to graduate Maths ( Part III of the Mathematical Tripos) at Cambridge, and recently completed a Masters in International Relations.

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Luba Lukacova

Luba Lukacova welcomed the opportunity to take on the entire Postgraduate Certificate in Health Sciences endorsed in Pain and Pain Management as I found it particularly relevant to my clinical role.

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Lucie Humphries

“I loved the learning, particularly learning to understand young children’s behaviour and how to recognise when and why they are frustrated or angry; basically learning about how they learn."


Lucy Carter

Sociology and the humanities are important subjects because they teach you about ethics.


Lucy Clark

The research skills and critical thinking I developed in my undergraduate degree have been invaluable to my work.

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Luke Gardener

“I wouldn’t have studied anywhere elsewhere in New Zealand. I was taught by people who had previously held roles in governments, including the ex-foreign affairs minister of Afghanistan, and academics who are internationally renowned for their work. Otago is a great place to study.”

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Luke Minford

“English teaches you how to read, not just for the sake of reading but to get the most out of it, which is an incredibly powerful skill."

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Lyall Hanton

Chemistry lecturer Lyall Hanton admits to an obsession with science from a young age.

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Lydia White

"Along with language papers I also had the opportunity to discover many facets of German culture, inlcuding German literature, history, philosophy, and art."

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Macaela Joyes

“I would really encourage more students to think about completing HUMS301. It was a really perfect paper to finish off my politics study because I was able to see themes and theories I had studied since my first year in action."

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Managing retreat

Managing retreat 

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Mapping ancestral landscapes

Modern mapping technology is helping to preserve traditional Māori knowledge.

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Marc Matsas

"I’m passionate about science and about teaching, and Otago gave me the life skills to be good at my work."


Marcus Hoefliger

If other people could build successful companies – “and there are millions of them out there” – then “I can’t see why I can’t.”


Marewa Kraak

"We launched the business at the end of 2013, and it’s growing really fast. We’re just making the move into supermarkets, we’ve launched into Australia, and we’re exploring the wider global market."

Margaretha Small-Smith

"Through studying Spanish, I developed an appreciation for communicating with more than words."

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Mariam Abdul-Dayyem

“Social media is challenging traditional sociology because the socialisation isn’t happening face to face – its virtual. It’s interesting to see how sociology can adapt and deal with these changes.”

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Marianna McEwan

Marianna McEwan; Packaging technologist at Frucor Beverages


Marianne Swart

With Physiology the options are endless! “Physiology allows me to work in varied jobs; as a researcher, in industry or allied health as a cardiac, respiratory or sleep physiologist”.

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Marica Frost

“My studies were excellent preparation for my role as a Refugee and Protection Officer with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment."

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Marine mortality minefield

Saving New Zealand threatened marine animals is being made more complicated by the way the relevant legislation is spread over three Acts of Parliament, according to Faculty of Law senior lecturer Nicola Wheen.

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Martin Burke

"I think my disability is one of those unseen disabilities."

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Mary Foley

Otago Law Faculty was the obvious choice, its reputation for collegiality and academic excellence being well founded.

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Maryann Cant

At the end of high school I knew I wanted to go into something health related as I enjoyed science based subjects and wanted to be able to make a difference in the community.

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Matariki: global reach

The Matariki Network enables Otago researchers to share knowledge and best practice, and to establish meaningful international collaborations.

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Mathew Downs

When John Barlow appealed his conviction for the murders of Gene and Eugene Thomas on the grounds that one aspect of the scientific…

Lubica Benuskova

Maths modelling aids brain research

Fast, adaptable, and extremely portable - it is the best computer known to man. Able to learn languages, guide vehicles and make complex computations in a split second, there is nothing that can match the versatility of the human brain.

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Matiu Payne

I’m working full-time so I chose postgraduate study via distance because I could fit it in with my work


Matt Hickey

Matt is working as a Water Resource Scientist for the Otago regional Council. His job is to set minimum flows in rivers, carefully balancing the needs of the eco-system to maintain it’s sustainability, as well as the needs of users such as farmers wanting water for irrigation

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Matt Short

Returning to study postgraduate papers at University of Otago has been one of the most rewarding and progressive decisions Matt believes he has made in his professional career.

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Matthew Prouse

Matthew Prouse wanted a career where he could go to work each day and, as he explains, "learn about life and expand my understanding of the world."

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Media delivery for voters

Many people think that the media have dumbed down over the years, increasingly producing populist trivia rather than useful information.

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Megan Anderson

Megan Anderson was the first student at the University of Otago to receive a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Sociology.

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Meghan Evans

The University of Otago is the “science university” and this is what attracted Meghan Evans south from Wellington to study biomedical sciences.

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Mei Mackay

"Without the enthusiasm and encouragement from the history department staff I might never have developed my passion for history and research."

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Melissa Ludeke

"Studying at the University of Otago provided me with the ideal environment to explore my interest in women’s health".

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Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko

Mercy Ah Siu-Maliko says that her main purpose in coming to the University of Otago was that it “was able to offer postgraduate opportunities especially for women in areas that were mostly dominated by men”.

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Michael Stevens

Time takes on peculiar qualities for many PhD students, and for Michael Stevens perhaps more than most.

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Michele Burns

The ability to study, work and pursue other interests while in a family environment made distance learning an attractive option.

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Middle Eastern perspectives

After years of research and on-the-ground experience, experts from Otago’s Department of Politics are helping their students – and the wider world – make sense of Middle East politics.

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Mike Owen

“One of the real highlights of the job is being able to see a large part of the country.”


Mike Owen

For Mike Owen the blend of indoor and outdoor activities along with travel opportunities, variety and job security made studying surveying a no-brainer.

Mele Taumoepeau

Mind reader

Everyone knows the way mothers speak to their babies is special, but to Dr Mele Taumoepeau the unique linguistic bond between mother and child is more than just baby talk.

Minishka Bradley

Minishka Bradley

“If you are thinking about teaching my only advice is do it. It really is the most rewarding career."

Mo Bashir, Pharmacy Graduate

Mo Bashir

BPharm (2007)

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Molly Devine

"It really helped me to be independent– I can write a song, I can sing a song and I can record it."

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Monica Singh

Monica Singh knows first hand the range of jobs a Biochemistry degree opens up.

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Monica Singh

“You have to be role models; to learn to balance what you have with what you’ve learned in order to provide support and advocacy to people and to families."

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Moragh Loose

"Anthropology introduced me to a whole way of thinking and understanding people that I hadn’t experienced before."

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Mothers' darlings

During World War II several thousand mixed-race babies were born to Pacific women and US servicemen serving in the region. Little has been known of these "children" and their stories – until now. 

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Moving mountains

Moving mountains

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Mutahar Al-Murtadha

“It just shows everything is possible – when I began my studies at Otago I never thought I could publish in a top journal but now it is looking possible.”


Muthasim Fahmy

“Shortage of energy is just round the corner so someone has to do this! Otago offers a variety of pathways, with Energy Studies – which is a science program - and Energy Management which is an applied science program and very practical.”

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Myunik Panthi

"I knew by undertaking research at an international level I could get experience that wouldn’t be available otherwise.”

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Māori economic expression

Postdoctoral research fellow Dr Gianna Leoni is seeking better ways of using the Māori language to express Māori economic aspirations.

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Mātauranga Māori

In 1904 Te Rangi Hiroa – later Sir Peter Buck – became Otago’s first Maori graduate and the first New Zealand-trained Maori medical doctor.

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Mātauranga and marine management

Mātauranga and marine management

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Naomi Aporo

Naomi Aporo has built a successful career out of combining her talent for business with her passion for Māori culture and heritage.

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Natalie Fleming

During First Year Health Science, I particularly enjoyed the biochemistry and pharmacology components, and was curious to learn the mechanisms behind how medicines worked.

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Natalie Harfoot

Using the same technology you see on CSI, Natalie Harfoot examines a new set of samples.

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Natalie Medlicott

Associate Professor Natalie Medlicott’s Pharmacy research involves colleagues in New Zealand, Australia, Denmark and Northern Ireland — and distance is not an issue.

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Nathan Alexander

Becoming a teacher wasn’t always Nathan’s plan. He moved to Otago from Christchurch to study Phys-Ed exclusively, on the recommendation of teachers who had told him it was “the best place in the country” to study the subject.

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Nathan Rose

Nathan Rose jokes that he gained a “poker degree” at Otago, with majors in Finance and Psychology.

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Nathaniel Christensen

Geography was Nat Christensen’s favourite subject at school, but he didn’t focus on it when he first started a BA at Otago.

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Neha N. Parayath

“I found Dunedin really quiet, but then I started liking the calmness. I think I have got used to it now, and I can work in peace.”

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Networking holidays

Social networking is playing an increasingly important role in where people decide to go on holiday and what they do when they get there.

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Neuro frontiers

The future looks bright for the country's first academic neurosurgery unit at the University of Otago.

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New face to ancient history

Resurrecting the dead may be impossible, but Dr George Dias is achieving the next best thing.

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New light on cancer

Researchers in Otago's Departments of Physics and Pathology are combining their expertise in two projects that have the potential to revolutionise techniques used for cancer detection and diagnosis.

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New talents

Microbiologist Professor Greg Cook has been awarded the University of Otago’s 2014 Distinguished Research Medal for ground-breaking work that may lead to a breakthough in the fight against diseases such as tuberculosis. He is also committed to mentoring a new generation of talented researchers.

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Nic Vipond

“I’m finding there are more opportunities with respect to work and learning available and I have the confidence to explore more academic work-related pursuits."

Nicola Bunkenburg

Nicola graduated with a BSc(Honours) in Biochemistry at the end of 2008. By March 2009 she was employed by Global Science, supplying scientific products throughout Southern New Zealand.

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Nicole Chuah

PPE gives you the substantial depth in a cohesive breadth of disciplines that prepares you for jobs in a range of fields, such as politics, business and journalism.

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Nicole Chuah

“Otago appealed for its ideal mix of academic and social activities and Dunedin has all the right kinds of student town vibes.”

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Nicotine "hit" a new way to quit

A key driver in the Government's aspirational Smokefree 2025 goal for New Zealand is better help for smokers wanting to quit. With that vision for the future in mind, University of Otago, Wellington researchers are breaking new ground in the area of smoking cessation.

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Niki Lomax

I loved studying arts and it was an excellent foundation for the 'real world'. It helps you develop effective communication and analytical skills which are immensely useful in any workplace.

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Nita Sullivan

Nita works as a graduate advisor in the Mayor’s Office at the Christchurch City Council, a job that involves providing research, analysis and advice to support the Mayor in her leadership role within Christchurch City.

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Nixing nitrate with nanoparticles

Nixing nitrate with nanoparticles

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Nuno Hermiterio

I felt I needed to understand the way Radiation Therapy is taught in New Zealand in order to do a better job teaching them


Nuno Hermiterio

 Being independent and in charge of my own time is a good thing when studying by distance learning.

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Obesity interventions

With statistics showing that around one third of young New Zealanders are overweight, research programmes are looking at ways to modify both the eating and activity patterns of our babies and children.

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Ocean explorers

From the largest to the very smallest sea creatures, and from estuaries to deep-water trenches, Otago researchers are striving to increase our understanding of the vast oceans that make our planet habitable.

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Ocean travellers

An evening stroll along one of Dunedin’s most popular beaches has led to a fascinating discovery by Department of Zoology researchers.


Oliver Broughton

"Threats of power blackouts from low Hydro lake levels in my final school years piqued my interest in a career in the energy industry.  I attended the open day in yr 13, picking up some brochures for Energy Studies – it looked awesome."

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Olivia Buckner

"I learnt in a team teaching environment, which made everything less daunting and meant that I started my teaching career with confidence."

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Olivia Glazebrook

Olivia Glazebrook, Heinz Watties recipient and graduate of the Food Science Department

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Oral vaccine breakthrough

Immune Solutions Ltd, a spin-out company formed by Otago Innovation Ltd, the University of Otago’s commercial arm, has developed a world-leading oral delivery method for vaccines and bioactives for commercial use.

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Otago innovators

“Today we may not know enough to see the practical bearing of this work, but who dare predict what we shall see tomorrow.”

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Otago's People: Katie Lane

Travelling to exotic locations with an international rally motorsport team may sound like a life of glamour, but Otago alumna Katie Lane says it’s not only the drivers that need focus and “grit” to stay ahead of the competition.

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Our urban future

With 87 per cent of New Zealanders now living in cities and towns, planning for urban resilience is needed more than ever. What development path should New Zealand's cities take to ensure the maximum environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits can be gained?

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PCOS study brings the best capabilities together

A 27-year working relationship has brought the best of sheep and human research capabilities together and laid the foundation for a developing area of study.

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Pacific lessons

NZ can learn a lot from the Pacific when it comes to climate change. 

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Pacific people

The University of Otago has a long association with its Pacific neighbours. From the early 1930s, a series of bright young men from the islands blazed a path to Otago, determined to advance opportunities for indigenous people.

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Pacific youth wellness

Pacific youth wellness

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Pain of ageing

As part of a growing focus on how New Zealanders can age well, Professor David Baxter is investigating the impact of pain and its associated disabilities on older people’s lives.

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Pain relief

Every week Christchurch general practitioner Dr Ben Hudson sees patients with severe pain from osteoarthritis, but with few options for relief.


Pan Yin Hsia (Susan)

The Otago experience has prepared me well for my career as a pharmacist.

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Paola Voci

"I'm interested in the type of dissent that these forms of visual culture can produce and how they can contribute to create a more open society."


Paris Potaka-Goossens

What I love about the course is that you can do both hygiene and therapy rather than having to choose one or the other.

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Past impacts: future clues

A study by PhD Geology student Felix Marx has shown that the evolution of modern whales was driven by a combination of food abundance and climate change, findings which could help scientists predict the impacts of future global changes on these creatures.

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Past, present, future

Understanding the legacy of New Zealand's complicated past will be made easier by research from the University of Otago's Centre for Research on Colonial Culture (CRCC).

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Pat Wheatley

Growing up in the Canterbury high country, Pat was a farm kid who read Homer.


Patricia Windle

The combined programme has sent me down an interesting career path.

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Pattern and context

Dr Susan Heydon's background in history helps her social pharmacy research. 

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Paul Chong

"Business studies gives a really good career base. You do a bit of everything in a BCom."


Paul Hansen

Lecturer Paul Hansen lives halfway between the beach and the University - perfect for a guy whose love of surfing is rivalled only by his passion for Economics.


Paulien van Geel

Paulien van Geel works with families addressing family nutrition and lifestyle goals. She is employed by Sport Wellington as the Active Families advisor.

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Peaceful solutions

The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, established at the University of Otago in 2009, combines multidisciplinary expertise and research on the global issues of development, peace-building and conflict transformation. Two of the centre’s staff discuss the effectiveness of non-violence as a means of countering terrorism and repressive regimes.

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Penny McRandle

Penny McRandle chose to study at Otago for its variety of Health Sciences courses and discovered a passion for Pharmacology.

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Peter Murray

Peter Murray is a medical doctor who is currently undertaking his specialist training with the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.

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Petra McCallum

Petra McCallum has pursued her fascination for other cultures and languages across continents - originally from Melbourne, she has lived in Ecuador, Spain and England.

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Phil Bishop

Do you speak frog? Professor Phil Bishop does.

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Philippa McNulty

Few 14-year-olds have an interest in accountancy, but then again few can boast a top-shelf London lifestyle by the time they reach their mid-20s.

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Philosophical paradoxes

A University of Otago philosopher is seeking to explain something that has puzzled philosophers since at least the fourth century.

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Pitcairn postdoc

Few stories have captured the imagination of readers as successfully as the extraordinary South Seas tale of Fletcher Christian and fellow mutineers on the HMS Bounty.

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Point-of-care focus

Point-of-care focus

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Politics of friendship

"For most of the 20th century political friendships have been equated with nepotism and favouritism, which do not fit with the idea of objective democracy"

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Power of change

Power of change

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Power to change

The interdisciplinary Energy Cultures project is finding out why New Zealanders are slow to adopt energy-efficient technologies.

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Pressure on food processing

A means of food processing and preservation that maintains nutritional benefits, taste, colour and appearance while at the same time keeps the product stable, safe and easy to use is something of a holy grail for food scientists.

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Primary solutions

Professor Tony Dowell and Dr Sunny Collings (University of Otago, Wellington) are convinced that GPs and other primary health-care professionals can provide more effective care to the thousands of people suffering from mild to moderate mental health problems in New Zealand.

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Printing cartilage

A third of the New Zealand population will be aged over 60 by 2051. This growth, combined with an elderly population living longer and more active lives, means an epidemic of degenerative joint disease is fast approaching. Dr Tim Woodfield, of the Christchurch Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering (CReATE) Group, is working on a way to address this epidemic.

Professor Cliff Abraham 2009 Distinguished Research Medal Recipient

Professor Cliff Abraham - 2009 Distinguished Research Medal recipient

The brain is an astonishing device for storing the information with which it is bombarded, every moment of the day.


Professor John Crump

Infectious diseases continue to be major causes of illness and death in developing countries. Professor Crump’s work focuses on those that cause fever, a very common syndrome in the tropics and one that is often equated with malaria.

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Project set to fly

Fundmental questions, such as what factors airlines consider when adding or reducing flights to New Zealand, are to be examined under a FRST grant secured by Associate Professor David Timothy Duval (Department of Tourism).

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Puzzling disparity

Contrary to international trends, in which testicular cancer is a disease of white men, New Zealand’s rates are highest among Māori compared to any other ethnic group, including Pacific men for whom rates are the lowest.

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Qais Nayle

Qais Nayle’s dream of becoming a doctor has led him from war-torn Afghanistan, via Pakistan, to Dunedin where he arrived in 2009 hoping to complete the medical degree he had started at Aryana University in Peshawar. Dunedin was an easy choice as his wife, Marwa, was already an Otago student (she has since completed Oral Health and Dental Technology qualifications)

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Quantum Leap

From cutting-edge research with real-world application, to the generation of fundamental knowledge about how the physical universe is composed and behaves – the new Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies offers exciting potential.

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Quantum leap

Otago physicists have used laser-cooling technology to slow a group of rubidium 85 atoms; then, by using a laser beam, or optical "tweezers", they have been able to isolate and capture one atom – and photograph it through a microscope.

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Questions of trust

Questions of trust


Quinn Berentson

‘Because zoology is non-professional you are not locked into a career path,’ he says. ‘You can steer it where you want to at varsity or go in a number of directions afterwards. ‘Zoology is learning more about the things you see every day out of the window - especially in Dunedin

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Rachael Dyche

Rachael Dyche literally fell for physiotherapy in her last year at school. After a fall she had to have physiotherapy - and she realised that was the career for her.


Rachael Holloway

 Distance learning meant I could study at night, and when my son had an afternoon nap I could get a little bit of reading done.

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Rachael Lander

“Human geography was the degree that offered the broad combination of economic, political and social issues that I was looking for.”

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Rachael Marren

“I really like the way that all your papers overlap, and you can increasingly see how each one is relevant to all the others”

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Rachel Piper

Studying at Otago was a pivotal step for a young girl from Invercargill in becoming a partner in the multinational professional services firm…

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Rajeshni Naidu

This area of practice is very challenging and always gives me opportunities to do further studies and research.

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Rangimarie Mules

"At the University of Otago they didn't put barriers or obstacles in the way I thought. I really appreciated the way the people around me opened my mind to affect change in a positive way."

Raphael Richter-Gravier

Raphael Richter-Gravier who studied for a DipGrad in Japanese and Māori Studies

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Raquel Hill

"Language learners often feel self-conscious about baring their fledgling skills in front of their peers, but I was always made to feel relaxed and received plenty of encouragement."

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Real-world science fiction

Understanding what it would take to effectively cloak an object and make it invisible may sound fanciful, but the lessons learned along the way are likely to feed into other
areas of technology.

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Rebecca Brookland

“For me it is essential that my research has the potential for real change—that it can influence policy and practice for better health outcomes.”

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Rebecca Campbell

Associate Professor Rebecca Campbell’s work focuses on the neural circuits that control fertility. “We examine how these circuits work normally, and also try to define whether problems in these circuits contribute to infertility.”

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Rebecca Lawrence

Rebecca Lawrence completed her final year of high school in Denmark on exchange. Before she went she had been undecided about what to study at university, but while she was away Rebecca realised that she really missed the outdoors of New Zealand, and was really interested in finding out more about the natural environment.

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Rebecca Llewellyn

Having an undergraduate degree in neuroscience and psychology, Rebecca wanted to study and work at a level of greater influence than her original plans of being a clinical psychologist would allow.

Rebecca McMaster

Rebeeca McMaster, Art History graduate says "I have no doubt that the Otago experience set me up excellently for the Great Job Hunt".

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Rebecca Thomson

Following her passion to study Philosophy gave Rebecca Thomson an edge when it came to her career.

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Rebekah Crake

Rebekah Crake grew up in Christchurch and wanted to stay in her home town while she did postgraduate study.

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Reflective responses

Reflective responses

Susan Houge MacKenzie - Tourism, University of Otago

Reframing adventure tourism

How can outdoor adventure and nature-based experiences be used to engage young people in science subjects as well as promote health and wellbeing?

Will Sweetman

Religious treasure rediscovered

Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code may be fictional, but academics really do have their moments in solving age-old mysteries in exotic locations.

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Renee Heal

"The study of politics has given me a truly international worldview: many of my travel choices have been inspired by the content of my degree and the passion inspired by my lecturers."

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Replacing replacements

In spite of years of education campaigns and steadily rising tobacco prices, 22 per cent of New Zealand's adult population continue to smoke.

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Repositioning Nepal

After the earth moved: Dr Chris Pearson has been helping to create a new surveying computer model for Nepal.

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Research awards

The University of Otago is committed to fostering and supporting the work of up-and-coming and early-career researchers.

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Research guides better health

Sugar, carbohydrate, sodium: nutrition research at Otago is influencing and informing World Health Organization guidelines.

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Researching science

“There’s a big problem in academia and that’s the problem of specialisation. People speak in their own esoteric tongues to specialised audiences - it’s a real intellectual danger.”

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Rethinking back pain

As many as 30 per cent of New Zealanders have back pain on any day, causing suffering, reduced quality of life and hundreds of millions of dollars spent in health care. 

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Rethinking literacy

Education in the digital world presents new challenges – and opportunities. Otago researchers are looking at ways in which new technologies can deliver the best results for young New Zealanders.

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Reuben Steff

"Studying Politics at Otago provided me with an insight into the diversity of the world that I would otherwise not have gained."

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Richard Henry

"That was the 'light bulb moment' – I knew there was a gap in the market"

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Richard Lambie

Richard Lambie, Global Head - TannerCTS (Tanner Pharma Group)

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Right on track

Southern right whales, once hunted to commercial extinction, are re-colonising New Zealand.


Roanne Hurley

Lots of friends, a wide range of subjects, and practical application of the knowledge aquired : Physical Education was definitely the right choice for Roanne!

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Rob Aitken

Dr Rob Aitken brings the savvy eye of a media expert to his current work as a Marketing lecturer at the University of Otago.

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Robert Mane

“It’s a pretty intense course, but if you work hard you get the benefit from it."

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Robert Patman

“One of the key challenges of teaching is to communicate ideas and information clearly”

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Robyn McLean

"In Information Science you're looking at business rules and how to match them through information systems."

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Roman review

A study of archaeological evidence from the Spanish city of Mérida by a University of Otago Classics lecturer, Dr Dan Osland, could rewrite the textbooks on Roman and medieval history.


Rosemary Gibson

Are Colin McCahon’s religious paintings akin to “graffiti on the walls of some celestial lavatory?” At Otago you can decide for yourself.

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Roslyn Kemp

”I’ve tried to take the best ideas from my mentors and help students to learn not only the science but how to be scientists in the real world.”

Lisa Stamp

Routing gout. Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research

 Rheumatologist Dr Lisa Stamp could have been a professional musician – a cellist – but half way through a Bachelor of Music degree she decided to be a doctor instead.

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Roy Britten

Increasing frustration over his desk-bound office job and a lack of people contact inspired Roy Britten to retrain as a nurse.

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Running on pond scum

Otago scientists are manipulating the process of photosynthesis to find new and renewable sources of energy.

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Russell Blakelock

Russell Blakelock believes Otago’s Distance Learning programme offers him the flexibility he needs, as well as a sense of community that he also believes to be important.

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Russell Simpson

“This qualification is professionally relevant, and because it is a clinical master’s there is more weight added to its value”

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Ruth Cunningham

Ruth Cunningham’s doctorate, with funding from an HRC clinical fellowship, is focusing on the unanswered question of what happens when someone with severe mental illness then develops cancer?

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Safer sex

There is compelling evidence that decriminalisation achieved the aim of addressing sex workers' human rights and had a positive effect on their health and safety.

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Sam Harvey

A horse riding accident changed Sam's life.


Sam Orchard

My communication studies degree has had a huge influence on my professional life.

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Sam Scott

Sam Scott says "I was surprised how easy it was to learn Chinese as I had previously written myself off as 'not being a languages person'"

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Sam Trethewey

Originally from Christchurch, Sam Trethewey decided to study at Otago after hearing good things about the Otago Department of Finance and even better things about the Otago lifestyle.

Santoria Utufua-Leavai, Pharmacy Graduate

Santoria Utufua-Leavai

BPharm (2009) and Postgraduate Diploma in Pharmacy (2014)

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Santoria Utufua-Leavai

Otago not only is the best place to experience being a student, but it is also, in my own biased opinion, the best place to nurture some of the most passionate people in the world.

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Sapere aude

Exhorted by the University’s founders to “dare to be wise”, Otago alumni have, indeed, dared. They have questioned traditional norms, challenged us with new ideas and inspired us with their creative thought.

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Sara Hanning

Bpharm (Otago 2006), PGDip PhysEd (Otago 2007), PhD (Otago 2013)

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Sara Walton

“Some of the ways global business is taking sustainability seriously is fascinating and quite inspiring.”

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Sarah Adam

It was the international quality of staff and facilities at the Department of Food Science that brought Sarah to Otago.

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Sarah Baldwin

Sarah Baldwin reckons Otago could gives job-seekers an edge even in tough times. She’s hoping that the skills she’s learned at Otago will make the difference when it comes to starting her career.

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Sarah Borrie

Sarah Borrie was keen to gain a qualification with an international outlook, but she didn't expect her studies to take her around the world before she'd even graduated.

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Sarah Jodczyk

“If you think of a chromosome as a shoelace, the telomere is like the protective plastic cap on the end, ‘’ says geneticist Sarah Jodczyk.

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Sarah Maessen

Sarah has been in the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health since 2013 after completing her undergraduate studies in Psychology.

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Sarah McKinnon

"...Otago has the lifestyle, its cheaper to live here and there's more financial support available than there is at home in Australia."

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Sarah Meldrum

"I’m so pleased I settled on Information Science because it offers the best of both worlds, combining business and technology in the one degree."

Hugh Slotten

Satellite secrets

Fifty years ago the idea of instant communication with anyone, anywhere on the planet, was just a dream.


Saving te reo Māori

Māori speakers in Dunedin and Otago face an uphill battle to keep their language skills alive so they can pass them on to new generations. But soon they could be getting help, following collaboration between local families, Ngāi Tahu and a multidisciplinary team from the University of Otago.

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Sa’ane Meki

“Knowledge and discovery are led by reasearchers and it would be cool to contribute to new discoveries that lead to an improvement in health care”.

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Scott Cardwell

Scott says that Otago has a huge amount to offer people who want to succeed in the business world.


Scott Hooson

Scott is currently working for the Department of Conservation as Technical Advisor for Operation Ark, a South Island-wide project designed to protect three particular native bird species.

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Scott Ransom

Scott Ransom discovered there's a place for students with a love of writing and a penchant for the absurd. It's called Theatre Studies at Otago.

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Seismic shift

The bottom of a pristine West Coast lake has revealed secrets that have huge implications for the way we plan for the effects of large earthquakes along the South Island’s Alpine Fault.

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Seismic shifts

Seismic shifts

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Seizing answers

Spectacular advances in molecular genetics hold great promise for the discovery of genetic mutations that cause diseases, such as epilepsy, and for consequent understanding of developmental biology.

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Sentinels of change

Sentinels of change


Serra Kilduff

Serra Kilduff completed a BSc in Botany with a minor in Geology in 2008. Since then she’s been working at Plant Variety Research, a very small offshoot of Intellectual Property New Zealand.

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Seti Afoa

I don’t have a degree so for me this is less of a career choice than a desire to achieve a personal goal.

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Shakespeare: memory and modern cognitive science

Shakespeare: memory and modern cognitive science

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Shalini Kennedy

“Studying classics allowed me to think outside the box and gave me the confidence to do anything.”

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Shane Wohlers

'My job requires creative adaptability, the ability to come to creative solutions and exceptional communication'


Shannon Clarke

Shannon explored a range of subjects when she started Uni, She completed her degree and PhD in plant biotechnology. She has now changed tack again and is a scientist with the Animal Genomics group at AgResearch in Dunedin. “Although I began my science career in plant biotechnology, the wide ranges of skills that you learn are applicable to all areas of science.”

Shannon Netball, Pharmacy Graduate

Shannon Francois

BPharm (Otago 2012)

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Sharing history

Worldwide collaborations are helping to piece together stories from ancient settlements across Asia and the Pacific.


Sharleen Irvine

Sharleen Irvine came to Hands-On Science at the start of year 13 and found out heaps about health sciences, getting into the professional courses and how Health Science First Year feeds into all of those.

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Sharnee Diamond

Sharnee Diamond is looking forward to applying her knowledge to research in minority health.


Sheldon Teare

Aspects of what I learnt studying Classics, such as ancient manufacturing methods and materials, are useful to my work as a Conservator as we have to understand how an object was made and from what before we can treat it.

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Shelley MacDonell

Shelley believes that she could not have done her research in any other department.

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Shocking behaviour

Identifying the foreshock phases of an earthquake sequence could lead to more accurate forecasting of main shocks, says Dr Ting Wang (Department of Mathematics and Statistics).

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Shopping strategies

The healthiest food choices are not always the easiest ones to make, says Dr Ninya Maubach, of the University of Otago’s Department of Marketing.


Sian Barris

I chose Otago because of its reputation for being the best physical education school in the country.

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Simone Colson

“I have absolutely no regrets about studying biochemistry and encourage you to take it on.”

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Simple solution

Worms cause more than one billion cases of gastrointestinal infections every year. A simple new device could potentially revolutionise the way in which these parasites can be identified and treated.

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Simple tests

With a suite of novel protein biomarkers patented in areas of unmet clinical need, the Christchurch Heart Institute is helping to save lives, time and money.

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Simran Maggo

To better understand the side-effects of cholesterol-reducing drugs, Pharmacology PhD student Simran Maggo is teaching guinea pigs to swim.

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Singapore collaboration

A well-established research connection between the Christchurch Heart Institute and the National University of Singapore is enabling innovative work with significant global implications, changing the way heart failure is viewed from one art of the world to another.

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Skye Kimura

“I always knew I wanted to work in advocacy or something in the area of creating change and I started working in public health early on.”

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Small applications

Nanoparticles may be very small, but they are also immensely powerful as the basis of new tools for a wide range of uses – from improving current technology to inventing new ways of doing things.

Janet Hoek

Smoking gun

Professor Janet Hoek uses the "David and Goliath" analogy to describe the battle between "social marketers" who take on the challenge of promoting public health measures and the corporations that market harmful products to consumers.

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Sneha George

My research helped me stand out from the others

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Software studies

Dr Sherlock Licorish (Information Science) studies software systems and the people who develop them, to try to reduce the incidence of failures – such as the notorious Novopay payroll system for New Zealand schools.

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Sophie Gilmore

"Employers value what they call visual literacy, and you’ll definitely get that from art history (and visual culture).”

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Spoilt for choice

"We have a generic solution to any problem that involves ranking or allocating resources."

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Stacey Edwards

Stacey’s message to students with impairments who are either thinking about attending University or currently studying is please don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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Stacey Gullen-Reynolds

When Stacey Gullen-Reynolds left school at 15 having passed only one School Certificate subject, it was hard to imagine that one day she would be handing out education and career advice to others.

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Standing up for the environment

Long before the importance of nature conservation was a mainstream concern, Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark was leading the way.

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Stephanie Moran

I initially trained as a nurse, but after a few years I wanted to know more about what caused illnesses in people.

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Stephanie Rigter

Stephanie Rigter, Entomophagy: Understanding Consumers’ Discourses towards Eating Insects in New Zealand

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Stephanie Workman

After graduating with a BBiomedSc degree in REGD in 2016, Stephanie is now enrolled in a BBiomedSc(Hons) degree, where she is discovering just how much she loves learning new techniques and how much fun it is to have the opportunity to contribute to research discoveries in embryology.

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Stephen Clarke

“The Biochemistry staff were really enthusiastic and willing to take time out to talk. The labs and courses were well organised and the subjects were interesting and diverse, setting me up for many potential directions later on.”

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Stepping up sustainability

When the food miles debate erupted in 2007, it took soundly researched data from the Agriculture Research Group on Sustainability (ARGOS) to debunk a myth that was threatening to derail New Zealand’s food export industry.


Steve Price

An interest in entrepreneurship and having his own start-up business underway (atFax) brought Steve Price to the University of Otago for its Master of Entrepreneurship degree.

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Stevie TeHau-Fergusson

At Te Tumu – School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, “the staff are so passionate about what they do, they have lived and breathed what they are teaching and that makes it easier to connect with students.”

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Stranded research?

Stranded research?


Strategising hauora Māori

In August 2013, Associate Professor Suzanne Pitama (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Whare) became the first person to complete a PhD with a focus on indigenous medical health education.

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Street smart

Street smart

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Student movement

A collaborative project looking at how Dunedin high school pupils get to and from school has produced some concerning preliminary findings about young people’s levels of physical activity, nutrition and daily screen time.


Su Yong Hu

Su Yong Hu is the Business Development Manager for StemLife, a cord blood and adult stem cell banking and therapeutics company.

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Super gel potential

A revolutionary super gel, found to reduce the post-operative complications of sinus surgery, was last year commercialised in a significant collaborative deal for the University of Otago.

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Super nomads

A solution to one person's computer problem is likely to have much wider benefits for computer users. Associate Professor Andrew Trotman (Computer Science) devised the idea of building a portable, high-performance, personal supercomputer to solve his problem of trying to manage large amounts of data on a limited budget.

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Sustaining tourism

Growing concern about the carbon dioxide emissions associated with long-haul air travel may not stop UK and European tourists coming here, but it might bring about a rethink on how itineraries are planned and the way the experience is marketed.

Pat Silcock


Test-tasting chocolate doesn’t sound like a tough task, but it’s more
difficult than it might seem.

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Switching on to cultural change

"New Zealand lags behind most developed countries in adopting energy-efficient behaviours and technologies, and we have been slow to set vigorous standards for energy efficiency in comparison to the rest of the world"

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Symptoms of things to come

Imagine if the early signs of Crohn's disease were noticed up to 10 years before the illness began to ravage the bowel.

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TAKING action

TAKING action

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Tackling Cancer with a No. 8 wire Mentality and 21st Century Technology

PhD student Chris Hakkaart describes his journey from the biology class of a small river town to the University of Otago’s renowned Centre for Translational Cancer Research.

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Taking flight

Global tourism behaviours are expected to change as concerns about aviation carbon emissions continue to grow.

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Taking on the big C

Pacific Edge is a biotechnology success story in a clinical field where there is high demand around the world: the early detection and management of cancer.

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Tana Wuliji

BPharm (Otago 2002), PhD (University of London 2010)

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Tarucilla Tatui

Studying Medicine at the University of Otago had always been Tarucilla’s ambition.

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Tawini White

Tawini White is studying regional language variations for her Master's degree.

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Te Hau White

“I gained a range of transferable skills during my time at university – the ability to read, analyse and interpret information in a meaningful way is really valuable in my day-to-day working life.”

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Teagan Hoskin

A Summer Studentship project at the University of Otago, Christchurch, opened up a world of opportunity for Teagan Hoskin – including a research job in London and a clinically-focused PhD.

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Tecwyn King

"Whether I was composing a four-part harmony or playing shredding guitar solos, the expertise of the teaching staff was the reason for my success as a musician."

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Telling technology

Dr David Ciccoricco, who has been researching what happens when narrative fiction meets digital technology, says that rather than threatening the existence of story-telling, digital technology is changing the way we are able to write and read narrative fiction.

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Teri Higgins

Teri Higgins' past year at Otago has been one big horror film - her major project was an honours dissertation on the "psychoanalytical failure of the remake of Psycho".

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Terrence O'Brien

Terrence O'Brien enrolled in Otago's Bachelor of Teaching (Primary). The experience, he says, was outstanding.

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Terri Caulcutt

“This programme allows social workers to undertake further studies with a distinctly social work emphasis”

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Tessa Cameron

For Tessa Cameron a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in finance and economics helped her develop into the entrepreneurial business women she is today.

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Testicular cancer disparities

The occurrence of testicular cancer in New Zealand appears to be different to other parts of the developed world, particularly in relation to ethnicity and socio-economic status.

Raechel Laing

Textile tests for the real world

What do you wear when you venture into the great outdoors?


The BRCA code

Angelina Jolie drew worldwide attention to the familial risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Otago’s Dr Logan Walker is now working to develop screening tools to identify those most at risk of these cancers.

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The DNA code

Professor Vicky Cameron and her team at the Christchurch Heart Institute are looking at the role of non-coding DNA – or "junk DNA" – as a risk factor for heart disease.

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The business of success

The business of success

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The climate change challenge

Otago researchers from across the academic disciplines are working together to help tackle the ever-growing threat climate change poses for New Zealand and beyond.

Paul Tapsell

The marae and its place

"The marae represents modern-day New Zealand's unique social and cultural point of difference. Can we afford to lose it?"

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The march to 9/11

"America's post-Somalia approach was supposed to be about putting the interests of national security first. Instead it came back to bite them."

Shieak Tzeng

The rhythms of life

Dr Shieak Tzeng (Department of Surgery and Anaesthesia, Wellington) is fascinated by the big unanswered questions in the murky depths of the body's physiology.

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The secret life of bones

The work of bioarchaeologist Dr Sian Halcrow can be likened to that of a modern-day detective – except her clues are ancient, locked inside the bones and teeth of people who lived thousands of years ago.

Steve Jackson

The sports trinity

Sport, beer advertising and alcohol could be said to form a "trinity" that is having an increasingly powerful influence on society.


The value of te reo Māori

Based at Otago’s Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, Associate Professor Poia Rewi (Tūhoe, Ngāti Manawa, Te Arawa) works on a regional and national level in multiple areas of Te Reo promotion, teaching and research, and his current projects highlight his unwavering focus.

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Thesis aims to find out why younger ewes are less fertile

Mysterious and little-studied structures within sheep oocytes have caught PhD student Karen Reader’s eye through the microscope.

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Thinking about drinking

Preventive and Social Medicine Professor Jennie Connor believes we're in a state of denial about just how harmful our national drinking habits really are.

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Thinking big

Professor Craig Rodger is achieving internationally significant results in the ultimate global arena – space.

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Thomas van Florenstein Mulder

Tom Mulder's career as an economic analyst at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand had its origins in his Christchurch school days.

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Tianyu Ying

Dunedin’s climate is not usually cited as one of the attractions of coming to the University of Otago, but it’s a plus for Tourism lecturer Dr Tianyu Ying.


Tiffany Somers-Edgar

"I really liked chemistry at school and I'd always been interested in medical research."

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Tili Matangi Puloka

I love helping people and making sure they are getting as much benefit from their medicines as possible.

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Tilman Davies

“There are all sorts of jobs these days for people who can interpret and analyse data.”

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Tim Friedlander

The knowledge I have gained through the course has been immediately applicable in practice and has served to both deepen my understanding of pain and pain management.


Tim Nixon (Director, Runaway)

Tim Nixon has had a colourful career since completing the Master of Entrepreneurship. He heads up Runaway, the computer games division of Natural History New Zealand.

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Tira Phillipson-Puna

Tira Phillipson-Puna is turning his love of sport into a promising career.

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Tissue transparency

The development of strategies to future-proof human tissue research throughout New Zealand is the aim of a virtual biobank initiative being driven by the Centre for Society, Governance and Science

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Tom Bradshaw

Tom Bradshaw is not one for sitting still. While studying he has represented New Zealand in mountain biking.

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Tom Brew

"My time at Otago fostered my interest in cancer genetics research." 

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Tom Mottershead

In Tom Mottershead’s first year at Otago he was able to study his twin passions of music and maths, but he was limited to majoring in only one for an arts or science degree. But then Otago developed the Bachelor of Arts and Science degree (BASc) to allow students with diverse interests to combine both disciplines.

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Tom Scott

 When Tom Scott graduated from the University of Otago he found himself heading in quite a different direction than he had initially planned.

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Tracey Daysh-Andrew

“The RTRU is a fabulous community of both academics and students. Your study is well supported and is an achievable goal for students who want to extend their knowledge in a specific area”.

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Tracing metals

Dr Rob Middag is on a quest to find out more about oceanic trace metals – essential nutrients for all organisms – and how these are affected by changes in the environment.

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Translating research to clinical solutions

Translating research to clinical solutions

Sarah Young

Tricks of the trade. Early Career Awards for Distinction in Research.

Otago researchers are at the forefront of international collaborations to use vaccines to tackle specific cancers.

Truc Nguyen, Pharmacy Graduate

Truc Nguyen

BPharm (2003)

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Tuatara return south

It may not be as internationally recognisable as the kiwi, but the tuatara is well known in the scientific world as the last survivor of a prehistoric group of reptiles called rhynchocephalians.

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Tulua Sekone-Fraser

“I wanted to be a change-maker; helping young people find the right path to a better future."


Turoa Gallagher

We would like to encourage Māori students to apply for Dentistry as more Māori dental graduates are needed.

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Tyson Tautari

“What I enjoyed most about studying through Te Tumu was the whānau feeling. The teaching support was incredible; they were approachable and welcoming, and all genuinely wanted to see their students succeed."


Tītī traditions

Modern science combines with mātauranga to protect muttonbird harvesting for future generations.

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Ulalei Aiono

They offer the best student support—especially for Pacific students.


Under control

How young children exert self-control is central to work being carried out by Dr Damian Scarf of the Department of Psychology.

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Underground collaboration

Underground collaboration


Understanding Māori health inequities

"I oversee a number of programmes supporting young Māori into health professional degrees at Otago and ultimately growing the Māori health workforce in New Zealand."

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Unequal playing fields

New Zealanders like to believe their country is a place of relative equality; however, recent reports have shown that New Zealand is among the top 10 “most unequal” countries in the developed world in terms of income differentials.

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Universal insights

Universal insights

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Unravelling differences

Unravelling differences

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Uplifting Kaikoura

Uplifting Kaikoura


Vanessa Cave

Vanessa Cave came to Otago planning to study Biochemistry. She took a couple of Mathematics and statistics papers in her first year, and was hooked! She graduated in 2002 with a BSc Honours in Statistics.

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Vanessa Lattimore

Christchurch PhD candidate Vanessa Lattimore has a strong history of breast cancer in her family. Three of five sisters in her family tree either suffered from or died of breast cancer.

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Vanessa Lattimore

“I wanted to do postgraduate study in genetics and especially in the field of health so my work could help people.’’

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Vickie Saunders

"The communication and analytical skills that I developed during my Linguistics studies, combined with an acquired learning aptitude and enthusiasm for learning new languages, are invaluable tools in my present role."

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Vintage science

Cutting-edge techniques are being used to inform the future of Central Otago wines, helping identify what makes a truly great pinot noir.

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Waiana Mulligan

“Policy is about identifying problems and coming up with solutions. The critical thinking skills gained in a Humanities degree allow you to think more laterally, to think outside the box. The writing and verbal communication skills you get are also very useful in a policy context."

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Warrick Low

"I'm very passionate about tourism and I'm very passionate about beer. So it's come together very nicely."

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Wei Wang

What really interests Wei Wang, who is studying for his master’s degree in Computer Science, is the evolution of multi-core processors.

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Weight of responsibility

He may be one of New Zealand’s most esteemed experts on childhood obesity, but Professor Barry Taylor has all but given up trying to enable overweight children to slim down.

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Welcome to "He Kitenga Global"

Welcome to "He Kitenga Global"

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Welcome to He Kitenga

Welcome to He Kitenga

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Welcome to He Kitenga

Welcome to He Kitenga, showcasing research from the University of Otago

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Welcome to this, the 150th edition of He Kitenga

Welcome to this, the 150th edition of He Kitenga. No, this is not the 150th volume of outstanding research highlights from the University of Otago, but rather this edition is timed to celebrate 150 years of scholarship, learning and research at our beautiful university.


What constitutes a successful business?

Associate Professor Ben Wooliscroft is keen to change the conversation about what constitutes a successful business.


What drives or hinders the commercialisation of research?

Research is changing, and translating core research into usage in the marketplace and in society is increasingly important.


What is reality really?

Professor Holger Regenbrecht is using augmented reality to challenge the brains of stroke patients to work out what makes reality a reality.


What makes a good leader

Good leadership is crucial for business success, but just what makes a good leader, and what does evolution have to do with it?


What prompts consumers to act sustainably?

Why is there disparity between what consumers say they would like to do and what they actually do when it comes to sustainable consumption?

Jim Flynn

What you need to know

There are a few things you need in this life, believes Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn, if you are to function usefully in the modern world.


Which charities do you support and why?

Do New Zealanders prefer to support charities with a local or global focus? And what reasons do people give for supporting different types of charity?

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Wildlife tracking takes flight

“Putting new things, in new places, with new technology” is the off-the-cuff mantra from Dr Tim Molteno (Physics) as he talks about the electronic animal-tracking tags he is developing in association with Associate Professor Phil Seddon (Zoology).

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Will Harvey

Beyond the written and verbal skills a Classics degree endows you with, it makes you open-minded and able to interact freely, courteously and civilly with all types of different people.

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Will Sweetman

"I'm keen to explore how we, as Westerners, understand people from another culture."

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Willow McKay

I enjoyed history at school and university and became really interested in medical anthropology - the interaction between people and medicine.

Janet Stephenson

Wind farm perceptions blow hot and cold

There's a lot of energy being expended on the subject of wind farms. Should we love their renewable energy or hate their skyline silhouettes?

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Wiremu Matthews

I enjoyed my time at Otago University and the feel that the University has.

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Words and music

Two Otago academics share a special interest in the influence of Asia on contemporary Kiwi culture.

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Working for the land

Working for the land


Zara Morris-Trainor

Zara is passionate about wildlife management and conservation, combining Psychology and Zoology as a double major allowed her to explore animal behaviour. She is now completing a masters in science in the UK.

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Zeid Abussuud

Foundation Year prepared me for Health Sciences at the University of Otago.

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Zipporah Lagaluga

In her third year Zipporah tutored for Te Tumu - School of Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies. “I remember in my first year hiding in the corner, and now I was in front of the classroom myself. Te Tumu gave me a great opportunity for personal growth, I learned a lot and was able to give back too.”

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Zoe Linsell

"Theatre Studies taught me a variety of skills, and not just what you learn in lectures, but a positive attitude as well- to get out there and do it!"

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Zoe Quinn

I have found the Diploma invaluable in terms of what was taught on the course, but also in approaches to continuing my own education.