University Of Otago 150 Celebrations

Otago is distinguished as New Zealand’s first university and, in 2019, will mark its 150th anniversary, an important milestone for the University, Dunedin and New Zealand.

This will be celebrated with a year-long series of events to highlight the University’s achievements, reflect on our contributions to society, engage with our community – and have some fun.

The University of Otago was established in 1869 with great vision and foresight by those who believed that education and learning would help build a just and prosperous community. They set about creating a world-class educational environment suited to life in New Zealand: in July 1871 the first students were accepted – 81 in total, taught by three professors.

Today, the University has around 20,000 students, employs more than 3,800 staff, and is a significant educational, economic and cultural force. It has over 150,000 former students and enjoys a global reputation for outstanding research and teaching.

Otago’s motto sapere aude – “dare to be wise” – is as relevant now as it was when the University was founded. We hope that you can join with us in celebrating our journey so far and stand with us as we plan for the future.

University of Otago celebrates 150 years

The University of Otago, Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo, is New Zealand’s first and finest university. It was founded in 1869, and in 2019 the University reaches the significant milestone of becoming 150 years old.


Invitation from the Vice-Chancellor

Our history

Otago has a distinguished history

Otago today

Get the facts about Otago today

Key dates 2019

To assist you with planning your events

150 Tau, 150 Kupu

150 years, 150 words

150th souvenirs

Celebrate with our range of gifts

Daring to be Wise 150th anniversary podcast series

Listen to stories from all corners of the University

150th Anniversary Gold Ball

Join us on Saturday 10 August 2019

Support Otago

Show your support for our 150th anniversary fundraising projects