Year in review

An overview of the year’s highlights, new directions and achievements of staff and students.

Building our global reputation

Enhancing our global reputation was a key focus during 2018. Boosting the University’s international reputation will help it to forge high-quality partnerships with top universities, recruit world-leading staff, grow the number of international students, and more effectively compete for international research funding.

A stronger brand also strengthens our ability to compete against the international elite university brands and their new modes of delivery. All of this is beneficial for alumni as it increases the value of their qualifications offshore.

A strong global reputation is also essential to ensure the financial sustainability and long-term viability of the University.

University of Wellington

A proposal for University of Wellington to become the new legal name of the University was approved by the University Council in September. The proposed name change was an important step towards a closer partnership with Wellington and towards giving the University a clear, distinctive, and memorable name upon which an enhanced global reputation could be more effectively developed.

The Council also approved a change in the University’s Māori name to Te Herenga Waka, which is also the name of our marae and means the mooring place of canoes.

In December, the University was advised that the Minister of Education had declined the Council’s recommendation to change its legal name to University of Wellington. Council will consider its response to the Minister’s decision in early 2019.

Programme of actions

A broad programme of initiatives to enhance our international reputation was developed in 2018. By way of example, these projects included:

  • continued attention to research and teaching quality and their proxies, such as citations, awards, and surveys
  • additional staff-to-staff collaboration and more effective institutional-level partnering
  • engagement activities to boost the University’s profile and reach such as hosting more conferences in Wellington and increased participation in offshore conferences.


Despite a tough year overall for New Zealand universities, Victoria University of Wellington held its standing in the QS World University rankings for 2018.

At an overall rank of 221, we are now the highest-ranked of the New Zealand universities that do not have a medical school and remain in the top 2 percent of the world’s 18,000 universities.

Since 2014, the University has moved up 44 places in the QS World University rankings.

International engagement

The University hosted a range of conferences in 2018, bringing thousands of academics to Wellington from institutions around the world. This included the Third International Conference on Wellbeing and Public Policy, which brought together over 350 policymakers, wellbeing researchers, and members of the public, and the Australasian Association of Philosophy’s 2018 conference, in which hundreds of philosophy academics and students presented and discussed their ideas.

A number of new collaborations within New Zealand and internationally were also launched. One example of many is a collaboration between researchers at Victoria University of Wellington, the Universities of Oxford and Reading in the United Kingdom, and the Centre for International Climate Research in Norway, to develop better ways of thinking about how methane fits into carbon budgets.