Inspiring student leadership at Victoria

An inaugural conference on leadership, organised by students for students, was held with a capacity turnout at Victoria University on Saturday.

The Student Leadership Conference, the first of its kind to be held at a New Zealand university, was initiated to complement existing leadership opportunities at Victoria, such as the Victoria Plus and Victoria International Leadership Programmes. 

Taylor Hughson, Chair of the Student Leadership Conference Committee, says feedback from delegates has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“It was a chance for students with little leadership experience to ‘dip their toes in the water’, as well as a professional development opportunity for those students already playing leadership roles on campus,” he says.

Professor Piri Sciascia started the day, attended by more than 120 student delegates, with a mihi whakatau supported by students from Ngai Tauira. This was followed by a welcome address from Professor Grant Guilford, Vice Chancellor. The programme included presentations and workshops by student leaders and leadership experts, with Victoria's current student leaders and alumni sharing their stories. Several Victoria staff also gave presentations. 

“We had some great keynote speakers, including Jimi Hunt [author, adventurer, motivational speaker and founder of the Live More Awesome Foundation], who kicked off the conference with plenty of energy,” says Taylor.

“It was also great to have so many students involved in running workshops and panels, as they were able to inspire their peers.”

“This conference brought together skilled presenters and talented student delegates for stimulating discussion and debate about leadership,” says Karen Davis, Associate Director Student Academic Services. “A theme throughout the conference was the importance of vision, commitment and drawing upon the skills of a community and this is certainly what the student organising committee demonstrated.”

The conference was supported by Career Development and Employment team in Student Academic Services and sponsored by Fuji Xerox and Vic Books.

For more information about leadership and mentoring opportunities at Victoria visit