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Victoria University of Wellington 1899 ~ 1999 A History


page 7


TO MARK THE centenary of our university with the publication of a history was perhaps predictable. J.C. Beaglehole's masterly ‘Essay towards a history’ published in 1949 on the occasion of our golden jubilee certainly called for a sequel. But this history is more than that, much more. It tells the great story of the full 100 years; the people, staff and students, the challenges faced and surmounted in teaching and learning, in research and scholarship; the difficulties of site and perennial underfunding, and the maintenance of autonomy and academic freedom; from humble beginnings, across an ever expanding spectrum of subjects, to the thriving university we know today. All these themes are addressed in Rachel Barrowman's history which captures the diversity of Victoria and her people, their many successes and their occasional disappointments, their collegiality and their conflicts, and their relationships with the capital city and the wider community.

I am sure that all of those who have passed through the Hunter archway, Te Herenga Waka marae, the student union cafe, or the Rankine Brown courtyard and whose lives have, in one way or another, been changed by Victoria will find this account of the university fascinating and revealing. I trust that Victoria's future generations will also benefit from appreciating what has gone before and that others interested in our university will enjoy discovering what has happened over the years on the hill in Kelburn.

We owe a considerable debt of gratitude to Rachel Barrowman for her research and her scholarly writing. This history is undoubtedly a most significant contribution to the celebration of our centenary and to the record of one of the country's leading educational establishments.

Douglas White QC, Chancellor

6 May 1999
page 8