Tag Archives: UC Birthday

It’s UC’s birth-week, let’s celebrate our legend Dame Margaret Mahy

This Tuesday 16 June marked 147 years of UC history. To celebrate our Foundation Day, we’re spending this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

New Zealand’s most celebrated children’s author of more than 120 titles.

After graduating from Canterbury University College in 1955, Margaret published her early stories in the NZ Department of Education School Journal.

Her first book, A Lion in the Meadow, was published in 1969 while working as a Librarian in the Canterbury Public Library. She produced over 100 picture books, 40 novels and 20 collections of short stories. Many of her works won medals and awards, and have been translated into a host of languages around the world. Some of her best known books include:

  • A lion in the meadow (1969)
  • The Dragon of an ordinary family (1969)
  • The man whose mother was a pirate (1972)
  • The Haunting (1982)
  • The Changeover (1984)
  • The catalogue of the Universe (1985)
  • The Moon and Farmer McPhee (2010)

In 1993, she was appointed to the Order of New Zealand, the highest of the country’s honours, for her lasting contribution to children’s literature.

Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>

It’s UC’s birth-week, let’s celebrate our legend Elsie Locke

This Tuesday 16 June marked 147 years of UC history. To celebrate our Foundation Day, we’re spending this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

A woman well ahead of her time – a renowned activist in the peace and feminist movements in New Zealand.

A woman well ahead of her time, Elsie Locke was an ardent campaigner for birth control, women’s rights, nuclear disarmament, social justice and the environment long before these causes became popular.

A member of the Communist Party from 1932-1956, she came to the attention of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service at the same time as she raised her four children and fought vigorously to improve the world around her. Her essay Looking for Answers, which won the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Award, describes these turbulent times.

She was a prolific writer, particularly of children’s books, and contributed to a great number of publications for schools including the New Zealand School Journal and a series of historical books that educated Aotearoa New Zealand children about their social history. She studied te reo Māori and incorporated biculturalism as a central feature in her writing long before it became fashionable.

In 1987, Elsie was awarded an Hon Doc Litt by UC for her remarkable contribution to Aotearoa New Zealand society, and the building that houses the English Department at the University is named for her.

Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>

IT’S UC’S BIRTH-WEEK, LET’S CELEBRATE OUR LEGEND ANOTE TONG

This Tuesday 16 June marked 147 years of UC history. To celebrate our Foundation Day, we’re spending this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

A climate warrior who pioneered the notion of migration with dignity to avoid the people of Kiribati becoming climate refugees.

Born in Tabuaeran, Line Islands, he served as President of Kiribati from 2003 until 2016 and is primarily known for his efforts to raise global awareness of the threat posed by climate change.

In 2014, Tong directed Kiribati’s purchase of 20 square kilometres of land in Fiji as a contingency refuge for his people, whose atoll nation rises a mere two metres above sea level and could well be submerged within a few decades. For this, he has been dubbed as a ‘climate warrior’, pioneering the notion of ‘migration with dignity’ to avoid the people of Kiribati becoming climate refugees.

His other environmental initiatives include calling for a global moratorium on the use of coal in 2015 and overseeing the creation of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area – the largest protected marine area in the world, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – PIPA.

He was awarded the 2015 Sunhak Peace Prize, the Leadership Award from the Hillary Institute of International Leadership, the Peter Benchley Ocean Award, the Order of Brilliant Jade by the President of Taiwan and the David B Stone Award by the New England Aquarium Foundation.

Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>

IT’S UC’S 147TH BIRTHDAY! LET’S CELEBRATE OUR LEGEND TĀ APIRANA NGATA

Today marks 147 years of UC history. As we celebrate our Foundation Day, we’re spending this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

“E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao.
Ko tō ringa ki ngā rāakau a te Pākehā, hei ora mō te tinana.
Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna Māori, hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga.
Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.”

Born into the Ngāti Porou iwi, Tā Apirana Ngata’s early years were strongly influenced by his father Paratene, and his great-uncle Rapata, who imbued him with a strong sense of loyalty to the Crown. As native speakers of te reo Māori, they both insisted he also learnt Pākehā knowledge and skills as they believed this could help him to improve life and conditions for the Māori people.

At Te Aute College, Ngata learnt the classics, was prepared for matriculation, university and the professions – and, along with all Māori students, was strongly encouraged to have pride in Māori and instilled with the mission of saving their people from social disintegration.

By 1893, when he graduated from UC with a BA in political science, followed by an MA and an LLB in 1896, Ngata was the first Māori to graduate from any University in New Zealand. He then dedicated his life to reforming the social and economic conditions of the Māori people.

Through his life, he became a renowned leader, land reformer and politician. Elected as a member of Parliament in 1905, he remained until 1943. As Minister of Māori Affairs, his Māori Land Development Scheme, inaugurated in 1931, was one of the greatest achievements of his Parliamentary career.

In 1949 Apirana Ngata wrote in the autograph book of schoolgirl, Rangi Bennett,

“E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tō ao. Ko tō ringa ki ngā rāakau a te Pākehā, hei ora mō te tinana. Ko tō ngākau ki ngā taonga a ō tīpuna Māori, hei tikitiki mō tō māhunga. Ko tō wairua ki tō Atua, nāna nei ngā mea katoa.”

“Thrive and grow for the days destined for you.  Your hands to the tools of the Pākehā, to provide physical sustenance.  Your heart to the treasures of your ancestors as adornments for your head. Your soul to God to whom all things belong.” This became much quoted as a vision for Māori youth.

Ngata was knighted in 1927 in recognition of his services to Māori communities and for his efforts as Chief Recruiting Officer during the First World War. Throughout his life, he contributed profoundly to the revival of the Māori race spiritually, culturally, and economically.

New Zealand paid tribute to this remarkable man in 1999 by embedding his portrait on the New Zealand $50 note alongside the Porourangi Meeting house of his iwi and the Kōkako bird.

Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>

IT’S UC’S BIRTH-WEEK, LET’S CELEBRATE OUR LEGEND BEATRICE TINSLEY

Tomorrow, Tuesday 16 June marks 147 years of UC history. As we celebrate our Foundation Day, let’s spend this week reflecting on the triumphs of some of our legends.

One of the most creative and significant theoreticians in modern astronomy.


Whakanuia tō tātou whetū tārake o te whare kōkōrangi! Known as “Queen of the Cosmos” Beatrice Tinsley’s work has had a profound influence on what scientists know about stars, the galaxy and the Universe itself.

Deciding by the age of 14 that she wanted to be an astrophysicist, she graduated from UC with an MSc in Physics with First Class Honours in 1961. She then completed her PhD on the evolution of universes at the University of Texas in just two years, receiving marks of 99% and 100%.

In 1974, she left Texas for a one year fellowship at the Lick Observatory of the University of California, before gaining an assistant professorship at Yale University. She became Professor of Astronomy at Yale in 1978, the same year she was diagnosed with melanoma.

She continued to publish until shortly before her death in 1981, producing over 100 scientific papers in her short 14 year academic career. She received a number of honours and accolades for her work. In 1986 the American Astronomical Society established the Beatrice M Tinsley Prize for outstanding creative contributions to astronomy or astrophysics and the University of Texas created a visiting professorship in astronomy in her honour.

The immense importance of her work was finally recognised in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2010 when Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa | New Zealand Geographic Board named a mountain in her honour. Mt Tinsley stands at a proud 1,537 metres in the Kepler Mountains of Te Whakataka-kārehua-ā-Tamatea Fiordland, 15 kilometres west of Te Ana-au.

Now UC Science precinct’s impressive timber framed building, is also named for her. Interested to learn more? Check out the rest of our legends here>