University Of Otago Notable Alumni

Universities are about people and, over the past 150 years, tens of thousands have come to Otago to learn and to grow, ultimately leaving as men and women better able to contribute to the world in which they lived.

In this issue of the Otago Magazine we have compiled a list of some of these outstanding people, a very small selection of alumni “heroes” – 150 for 150 years – from all decades and all fields of endeavour, in the belief that in the sum total of their achievements we can find the true essence of the University of Otago.

This list is not comprehensive and by no means definitive. It is merely a snapshot of Otago alumni and their stories.


As New Zealand’s first university, there have been many more firsts.


University of Otago graduates have been at the forefront of advances in medicine and science, even the New Zealand diet and how we prepared our meals.


Otago alumni have helped change – Indeed save – the lives of people in New Zealand and around the world.


Bold ideas – and the courage to follow them – have helped set Otago’s innovators apart.


From a sub-Antarctic adventurer to a war-time spy, trailblazing heart surgeons to groundbreaking women, much new territory has been charted.


Otago graduates have challenged with their ideas, influenced through their knowledge and inspired with their talent.


Across all fields of endeavours – from politics to business, sports to law – Otago’s people have provided outstanding leadership.


Otago graduates have left a lasting legacy across our society in areas as diverse as education, law, health and more.


From celebrities to quiet achievers, formidable mathematicians to cancer specialists, education reformers to adventurers, the achievements of our alumni are legend.


Olympians and rugby stars, cricketers, rowers, cyclists, athletes and skiers… Otago champions have also excelled outside their areas of study.


Recent graduates are already making their mark with new and exciting ventures.

Alumni networks

Joining an alumni group is a great way to stay connected with Otago alumni.

New Zealand alumni networks

Dunedin Office, University of Otago


International alumni networks


United States and Canada

UK & Europe

China & Hong Kong

South East Asia


Don’t see a local network in your area? Start one!

We’re looking for main contacts in areas all around the world – someone who can take RSVPs and suggest a place to meet with other alumni. This can be as simple as suggesting a local pub with a date and time to meet up. Everyone pays for themselves at these events, so there is no cost to the organiser. We’ll send out the invitations from our office for you, and help with any questions you may have. If you are interested in being our main contact for an area, please email [email protected].

Where in the world are you?

The University of Otago has over 100,000 contactable alumni living in over 140 countries.

Tell us where you are and we will be able to invite you to events and tell you about opportunities in your area.

You can update your details or email [email protected] with your location.