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February 25, 2019 | by  | in Homepage News | [ssba]

The Name Change: A Helpful Guide To An Endless Farce

The Victoria University of Wellington Council has not ruled out legal action after a failed attempt to change the university’s name.

The council made a formal application to remove the word “Victoria” from the university’s legal name in September 2018, simplifying the name to “University of Wellington”.

The adoption of a new Māori name, Te Herenga Waka, was also proposed.

According to Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford, the decision came about after analysis showed overseas confusion with similarly named institutions. The council hoped simplification would address such issues.

The cost of the change was expected to reach almost $1 million. Feedback received during consultations revealed significant opposition to the name change from students and alumni, and a division amongst university staff.

Victoria University of Wellingtons Students’ Association (VUWSA) submitted on the proposal after receiving roughly 800 responses; most of them opposed.

A petition also gained more than 10,000 signatures in opposition. Mr Guilford said the university received “only a modest number” of submissions on the proposal.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins made the decision to decline the change in December. The minister said he was not convinced the university had “engaged sufficiently with the views of those stakeholders who should have their views considered.”

Wellington City Councillors also recently passed a notice of motion to oppose the name change. A University Council meeting was held in February where members discussed independent legal advice sought by the university on the issue.

The advice was privileged, therefore not open for public discussion. However, the Council did discuss how to improve its heavily criticised consultation process.

Student Councillor Isabella Lenihan-Ikin advised that although VUWSA was under-resourced for such projects, it would have the mandate to carry out student consultation.


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