Victorious is our annual magazine for alumni and friends of Victoria University of Wellington, celebrating the achievements of our staff, students and alumni.

Victorious 2020

The new edition

Soar into an historical Māori worldview with VR, read the latest updates about the Unviersity’s Living Pā developments, and find out about the work that won the melting ice and rising seas team a Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

    Spring 2019

  • Vice-Chancellor Grant Guilford

    From the Vice-Chancellor

    In this issue of Victorious, you will find out what the University has been doing to advance the global dialogue about sustainability, as well as what steps we are taking to reduce our own environmental footprint as an organisation.

  • A view from space shows earth in the foreground, and a meteorite crashing into the planet.

    Recipe for planets

    It’s not every day that clues about the origin of our solar system fall from the sky, but one Victoria University of Wellington researcher has found just that—in a meteorite that collided with Earth 50 years ago.

  • Real image of a half moon, the left side of the moon is illuminated and the rest of the image is pitch black.

    Robinson’s space odyssey

    Like many other people his age, Victoria University of Wellington’s Dr Nick Long can remember as a child watching black and white television coverage of astronauts walking on the moon. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing, he is leading a branch of New Zealand’s nascent space industry.

  • Jessica Lai stands beside an animation of honeycombs, bees and flowers.

    A sweet solution

    Hailed for its medicinal, antibacterial qualities, mānuka honey is so coveted that jars of the pricey product are often kept under lock and key in shops to prevent shoplifting.

  • Image of an interior light with a geomtric shade made of triangles. The light hangs from a ceiling and is giving off a warm light.

    Living-room legends

    Humans share stories in countless ways: singing or speaking, the written word, paintings, and more. But Dave Hakaraia from the School of Design is using a more unique method, sharing Māori myths and legends through custom-made furniture.

  • Hollographic image of a human head.

    Navigating life's Hall of Faces

    Dr Christel Devue won’t be the only person to have trouble remembering who’s who when watching the television show Game of Thrones, but she’s probably the only one to put her confusion to such good use.

  • Dr Eva Nisa stands outside of an enterance to a building.

    Uncovering the stories behind Islam

    After the Christchurch terrorist attacks of 15 March, the Asia New Zealand Foundation asked Dr Eva Nisa to provide a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ for journalists covering Islamic issues. Her response was, “the most important thing is they don’t essentialise, because, like any religion, Islam is very diverse”.

  • Associate Professor Taehyun Rhee stands in a room wearing a virtual reality headset. Animated fish are floating through the air around him.

    From Wellington to the world

    Wellington city is a hub for New Zealand’s tech and digital scenes, with companies such as Xero, TradeMe, Weta Digital, and 8i calling it home.

  • Boosting education leadership

    A joint initiative between Victoria University of Wellington and its commercialisation office Viclink is helping teachers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia drive change in their education system.

  • A man rides a bycicle towards the camera on a sunny day, a red and blue car are alongside him.

    On your bike

    Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around New Zealand cities, but the sociology behind it is only just beginning to be understood.

  • Caz Helen and Helen Rook are standing side by side, in professional atire, infront of a white background.

    Customised care

    Research shows that obesity rates peak at the age of 65 and, with an ageing population in New Zealand, it’s timely to ask how prepared our aged-care facilities are for very overweight patients.

  • A resilient student community

    It’s no secret that New Zealand is currently facing a mental health crisis, and our rangatahi (young people) are often the most at risk.

  • Kate Prickett stands by the shore with Wellington in the background.

    Family matters

    We may not be able to choose our families, but Dr Kate Prickett has chosen to study everything about them.

  • A male and female student, draw on white board with markers at a table.

    A new base for business

    Victoria Business School (VBS) is strengthening its reputation as a hub for ideas and enterprise with the Atom, a new innovation space for students starting their entrepreneurial journeys.

  • Thirty and going strong

    When we think of 1989, some of us will recall protesters in Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia. But 1989 was also the year of a quieter far-reaching revolution: the establishment of New Zealand’s Public Finance Act.

  • Celebrating our distinguished Alumni

    The achievements of six of Victoria University of Wellington’s most distinguished alumni will be celebrated at a black-tie dinner in November.

  • A man stands in a vast marsh, with water in the foreground and long green grass.

    Wet and wild

    Fourteen years ago, the Wairio block on the eastern shores of Lake Wairarapa was an area of barren paddocks, boggy pasture, and few obvious prospects for biodiversity.

  • Many hands make light work

    With many people finding it increasingly challenging to enter New Zealand’s housing market, some Kiwis are taking matters into their own hands.

  • Abstract animated image with various green shapes and shades.

    Energy lessons from South Korea

    Professor John Townend found himself at the epicentre of media attention and residents’ anger when he and other experts presented their findings into a magnitude 5.5 earthquake associated with deep geothermal drilling in South Korea.

  • Looking at the bigger picture

    In order to preserve New Zealand’s rich biodiversity, we may need to rethink our approach to pesticides—even if that’s a fly in the ointment for farmers and others who use them.

  • Birds eye view of a dry river bed.

    Out of our depth

    Dr Mike Joy believes the key to improving New Zealand’s waterways and natural environment is the power of the people. “My message at my public talks is, ‘Your rent for living on this planet is activism’. It’s become clear that if government changes anything, it’s when people push for change,” he says.

  • A landscape image with snow covered mountains in the background.

    Protecting our plants

    Tongariro National Park is not just centrally located—it's a central part of New Zealand culture.

  • Sarah Hendrikx

    Alumni profiles

    Graduates of Victoria University of Wellington are doing impressive things across the world.

  • Designing our future

    Tonya Sweet, Senior Lecturer, School of Design on how the onus to save the world is a challenging prospect.

  • How do people save the planet?

    Dr Wokje Abrahamse, Senior Lecturer, School of Geography, focuses on understanding people’s motivations to adopt sustainable behaviours.

  • Professor James Renwick pictured with Peacemaker, by Chris Booth. Photograph by Mike Heydon, Jet Productions.

    The art of science

    There may be plenty of figures and graphs to support climate change research, but Professor James Renwick says not everyone is interested in hearing the cold hard facts.

  • Thinking outside the box

    We know that natural forces can be harnessed for power, but obtaining reliable data can be an obstacle for communities looking to move to renewable energy.

  • The inbetweeners

    If we’re going to address the big issues affecting our planet, Associate Professor Rebecca Priestley says we need to look beyond science.

  • Laura Southgate stands infront of a light pink wall.

    Attachment issues

    After winning the prestigious Adam Prize for the top Creative Writing Master’s portfolio in 2018, Laura Southgate builds on her reputation as a writer to watch with her debut novel The Boyfriend, a cautionary tale about love and relationships set in the late 1990s.

  • Margot Schwass stands infront of large old wooden door.

    All the Juicy Pastures

    Greville Texidor was many things—a one-time Bloomsbury insider, a chorus-line dancer, former heroin addict, and anarchist militiawoman—as well as a writer who was influenced and encouraged by Frank Sargeson and his literary circle. A new biography by Margot Schwass has shed light on the little-known glamorous and tragic life of this writer who died by her own hand in 1964.

  • Tamatha Paul (Ngāti Awa and Waikato Tainui) and Thomas Smith

    Who's in my room?

    Tamatha Paul (Ngāti Awa and Waikato Tainui), currently the president of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, stayed at Weir House in 2016. On a sunny winter’s day, she went back to meet the current resident in her former room—first-year Theatre and Film student Thomas Smith. The pair quickly bonded over student politics, hall food, and cable car rides.

  • Sarah Ross reads at a table in a contemporary space.

    Hidden voices

    What happens to our sense of the past if we pay attention to different voices?

  • Hannah Goldblatt measures a piece of cloth for fit, against a female manikin.

    Make believe with Weta Workshop

    Have you ever wanted to bring your imaginary world to life? Perhaps make that relic look as if it were found in the caverns of a fearsome creature’s lair, or give that toy laser gun scars from an intergalactic battle?

  • A hand holds a large prosthetic eye.

    Eyes on the prize

    Victoria University of Wellington alumna Tor Robinson is having no trouble keeping her career in Wellington’s creative sector in focus.

  • Out of order

    Rude names, barbed digs, and sly innuendoes get thrown across the parliamentary debating chamber apparently in the heat of the moment—but Ruth Graham’s research suggests the language is often calculated and strategic.

  • Anna Fifield stands infront of a cherry blossom tree and a gently curving wooden bridge.

    A global perspective

    As a teenager in the 1990s, alumna Anna Fifield watched news reports of conflicts in Rwanda and the Balkans, sparking an interest in journalism and a future as a foreign correspondent.

  • A record year for philanthropy

    Thanks to the generosity of donors, philanthropic initiatives at Victoria University of Wellington are changing lives.

  • Creating Great Futures

    A number of new scholarships have been established since the launch of Great Futures, the University’s philanthropic scholarship programme.

  • Associate Professor Kate Hunter, Professor Sarah Leggott (Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences), Julia Paton, Professor Jennifer Windsor (Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences and Education)

    Enriching New Zealand scholarship

    London-based alumna Julia Paton was keen to support the University’s research into New Zealand’s history, cultures, and society.

  • Restoring the Council Chamber

    "The University is committed to honouring our heritage and this restoration is another step in the ongoing Hunter building conservation programme," says chief operating officer Mark Loveard.

  • Roger Blackleywearing glasses sitting indoors infront of a wall with some paintings and a table with potted plants.

    Remembering Roger Blackley

    Victoria University of Wellington and the wider art history community suffered a tremendous loss this year with the passing of Associate Professor Roger Blackley—but his memory lives on.

  • Director Christina Barton stands on the upper level of the art gallery, which overlooks paintings in the background on a lower level.

    Bridging time and space

    Nestled at the heart of the Kelburn campus, Adam Art Gallery  Te Pātaka Toi has a storied history—and this year it celebrates 20 years of groundbreaking exhibitions.