Heritage and position

The position of the University as New Zealand’s globally ranked, capital city university reflects its history, international perspective and civic engagement.

Victoria University of Wellington’s character as a capital city university was first suggested in 1886 by the University’s founder, Robert Stout:

‘So far as Wellington is concerned, it is the seat of Parliament and the seat of the Court of Appeal. This city might be prominent for its special attention to jurisprudence, to law, to political science, to history.’

— Barrowman R. Victoria University of Wellington 1899-1999 A History. Victoria University Press, 1999.

The contemporary position of Victoria University of Wellington as New Zealand’s globally ranked, capital city university reflects this history and embodies three pillars. First, the University focuses deliberately on New Zealand, its principal community of interest. Aotearoa New Zealand is a multicultural, democratic, egalitarian society with deep roots in the Pacific and Europe, a unique bicultural and natural heritage and an Asia-Pacific future.

Secondly, the University is internationally respected, ranking well within the best 5 percent of the world’s universities and in the top 1–2 percent in areas such as law, humanities, business, education and earth sciences.

Thirdly, consistent with the civic university tradition, the University engages closely with New Zealand’s capital city. This affords its staff and students privileged access to political, public sector, legal, diplomatic, cultural, scientific, corporate, community, media and non-governmental organisations, as well as to the nation’s archived heritage, its cultural taonga.

This civic engagement provides the opportunity to enrich national culture and to lead thinking on major societal and environmental issues. It positions the University to play an important role in the facilitation of innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainable economic growth.

And, in keeping with the international connections of Wellington and the University, it offers the University a valuable opportunity to create bridges between communities and to influence thinking in the wider Asia–Pacific region and global community.