Limitoo News

Million-dollar rebrand to go ahead for University of Otago

Clock tower building on campus
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

The University of Otago has announced a $1.3 million rebrand will go ahead next year including a new te reo Māori name and tohu (symbol).

The current te reo name will change from from Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo, to Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka, which is a metaphor meaning 'a place of many firsts'.

The university said the tohu has been inspired by the Ōtākou channel, in Otago Harbour, "which brings water, kai and life to and from the region - just as the university brings and shares knowledge across Aotearoa New Zealand".

"It emphasises the importance of relationships, reciprocity and the transmission of knowledge between generations."

The new brand was created in collaboration with mana whenua, and it followed stakeholder consultation.

The university said the new brand would not be used until next May as it balanced the desire for change with its current financial situation.

The $1.3m cost will be rolled out across two years.

Chancellor Stephen Higgs said there was a lot of debate before a decision over the cost was made.

"We are confident that, despite alternative views, some strongly held, this decision is in the best interests of the university. The results of the consultation were, of course, a key factor in our decision."

Close to three quarters of those surveyed by the university supported the proposed brand as a reflection of its future direction with more than two thirds supporting the English and Māori version initially proposed.

The university listened to submissions and found there was strong support for this change, he said.

"We have also made changes as a result of hearing from our community.

"Our heritage and our future are both key elements to our future success. Therefore, our present Coat of Arms and a newly-created stylised version of our Coat of Arms will continue to be used in a wide variety of situations."

The new brand would be supported by a te reo Māori version used in spaces, communications or campaigns promoting or celebrating kaupapa Māori.

"We believe the new brand reflects the shared view of Council, and the vast majority of our community, of the importance of our relationship with mana whenua and our goal to be Te Tiriti-led.

"It reflects both the university today and our shared vision for the future, outlined in Vision 2040."