Wellington Scoop

Victoria University agrees to remove “Victoria” from its name

News from VUW
Victoria University of Wellington’s Council has today agreed in principle to simplify the University’s name to ‘University of Wellington’.

The University Council has made a draft decision to recommend that the Minister of Education approve University of Wellington as the new legal name for the University, as well as adopt a new Māori name of Te Herenga Waka.

The draft decision also includes a commitment to the ongoing use of the word Victoria to ensure its heritage is honoured and maintained.

Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith says the draft decision has not been made lightly and follows a thorough process and debate involving consideration of a wide range of evidence and advice from staff, students, alumni, partners of the University, university marketing experts and other universities around the world that have changed their name.

Mr Paviour-Smith says the Council carefully considered that feedback in coming to the draft decision. Further and final feedback on the name simplification proposal can be lodged over the next two weeks and the University Council is expected to make a final decision at its 27 August meeting.

Mr Paviour-Smith says Council members are agreed that the proposed change is an important action looking to the University’s future.

“It will allow the University to better align with the city of Wellington, support our commitment to being a global-civic university and, over time, help improve our international reputation through better clarity and recognition of the University’s name. This, in turn, will help with student and staff recruitment and lead to more collaborations with top-ranked institutions.

He says the planned change in the University’s Māori name is also a future-focused move.

“Te Herenga Waka is the name of our marae and represents the very essence of all things Māori at our University. This inclusive name draws our communities together and puts them at the heart of the University.”

Mr Paviour-Smith says the University is acutely aware of the importance of heritage and the preference by some to leave the name unchanged. “Included in the Council’s draft decision is a commitment to ensuring the word Victoria continues to play an active role in the life of the University into the future.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the proposed name simplification is part of a wider programme of work to build the University’s international reputation.

“Building a strong international reputation in addition to our already strong domestic reputation is critical to a sustainable future. Like all universities in New Zealand, we are dependent on international staff and students and, at the same time, our staff have an ambition to be ranked among the world’s best universities. To succeed, we must have a distinctive name that stands on its own in the more than 100 countries from which we recruit our staff and students and in which our graduates work.

He says the university ranking agencies QS and Times Higher Education believe the name simplification will be beneficial for the University’s international reputation.

“One of the main drivers behind simplifying the University’s name is the confusion caused by Victoria University of Wellington’s name. There are a number of other tertiary institutions around the world that have Victoria in their name and, in addition, there are eight different ways in which the University’s name is expressed offshore.

“Another key driver is more visible alignment with Wellington and with the University’s global-civic vision, mission and positioning as New Zealand’s globally ranked capital city university.”

Further and final feedback on the draft decision can be sent to feedback@vuw.ac.nz or addressed to ‘The Chancellor, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140’. Feedback closes at 5pm Monday 13 August.

Read also:
Hugh Rennie: Why Victoria should not change its name


  1. Hamish Price, 27. July 2018, 23:15

    Just two days after Education Minister Chris Hipkins set out a process for universities to consider changing their names, requiring consultation, VicUniWgtn resolves to change its name without consultation. The Council should be sacked. [via twitter]

  2. Citizen Joe, 28. July 2018, 8:40

    I’ll still call it Vic Uni. Well Uni? nah.

  3. Jo Moir, 28. July 2018, 11:06

    If people can’t work out Victoria University of Wellington is in Wellington and not one of the other places not called Wellington then we probably don’t need to be worried about them imo.[via twitter]

  4. Rob Hosking, 28. July 2018, 11:12

    Great how it looks like the local university is going from being named after a strong woman who smoked a bit of dak occasionally and who allowed a shift towards greater democracy: to a militarist and philanderer who bitterly opposed any extension of the vote at all. [via twitter]

  5. KLJT, 28. July 2018, 14:00

    Nobody I know, not a comment I’ve read, not one person seems to support the Victoria University Council’s apparent predetermined name change and yet – “strong support”. Fail. [via twitter]

  6. Grant Robertson, 28. July 2018, 14:13

    I have heard some very strong views on this proposal, for the most part negative. The Uni Council are very much in favour. Please put your views to the University and let me know what you think and I will pass on to Chris Hipkins. [via twitter]

  7. Polly, 28. July 2018, 14:41

    Thanks Grant and others, have already posted earlier that am not in favour of changing the name and will be emailing feedback@vuw.ac.nz to let the Chancellor know….

  8. Andrew, 28. July 2018, 17:12

    It does appear that this move is to appeal to those who need everything quickly and laid out on a plate. Looking forward, any guesses as to the new name of the Victorious mag? W for Wellington?

  9. greenwelly, 28. July 2018, 19:39

    As the esteemed Mr Hugh Rennie QC has mentioned in another post I suspect it would be a very brave Education Minister to think that they had the power to overturn a statute without any recourse to parliament… I can smell the judicial review from here…,

  10. Nicola Willis MP, 29. July 2018, 11:51

    I’m a Vic Graduate. Debated for Vic. Met my husband at Vic. Sang the Exponents’ “Victoria” at University tournaments all over the country. Still consider it our song. I won’t ever describe myself as a University of Wellington Graduate. Are other alumni as nostalgic as me?

  11. Claire Robinson, 30. July 2018, 0:51

    I don’t understand why the Uni would want to ditch 120 years of heritage and alumni fondness for brand “Vic,” just to recruit a few confused international students and play the rankings game. This is the tertiary education strategy gone mad! [via twitter]

  12. TrevorH, 30. July 2018, 7:49

    University of Wellington? Which one? Both Massey and Otago have campuses/facilities in Wellington. I sincerely hope Parliament declines to revise Victoria’s statute and rejects this attempt at dumbing down its name for spurious marketing benefits.

  13. greenwelly, 30. July 2018, 11:16

    @TrevorH, They are not intending to ask parliament,
    They are hoping that the Minister of Education will do it on his own….

  14. Reed Fleming, 30. July 2018, 16:56

    Call me a cynic, but this is a move that students don’t want, that alumni don’t like, that the uni thinks will increase international student income while their own research says impact willl be tiny & will divert almost $1m from providing better teaching and support. WTF VUW? [via twitter]