Our identity encapsulates exactly what we are: a globally-minded university that values close involvement with the social, cultural, and economic life of its city and region or, put simply, a global–civic university with our marae at our heart.
The quality of our teaching and research are the equal of any of the top universities in the world and our graduates deserve to receive the recognition and opportunities that flow from studying at a world-class university.A distinctive identity is essential to building an international reputation and the cornerstone of identity is place—in our case, the city of Wellington in Aotearoa New Zealand. For this reason, and to reflect the enduring partnership between our University and the capital city, our brand emphasises and celebrates the word Wellington. It also prominently features our new Māori name of Te Herenga Waka.Our shield and crest also reflect our identity. These elements symbolise the collective purpose of a university community, place us in the harbour city of Wellington, and highlight our long legacy dating back more than 120 years.
With its fully carved and beautifully decorated wharenui, or meeting house, the first to be established in a New Zealand university, Te Herenga Waka has been at the heart of the University's community for more than three decades. We are proud of how our marae represents the iho, or essence, of our Māori identity at the University. The centrality of Te Herenga Waka as a place of teaching, learning, and connection makes the University unique. As well as providing a link to our ancestors, it ties us to all the iwi of Aotearoa and across the Pacific. Like the University, it is a place where people from around the country and beyond can 'hitch their canoes' and find shelter. When people are ready to leave the University, they can unhitch their canoe and sail off to new horizons, while still maintaining a deep connection to Te Herenga Waka.
Understanding our new logo
Our visual identity has continually evolved throughout our 120-year history, as you will see in the video at the end of the slide presentation below. Different elements of our name have taken prominence in our logo and branding in response to our changing footprint and role in Wellington city. In the slide presentation, you can explore the elements of our visual identity, which celebrates Wellington, our connections to the city, and our bicultural heritage.
Niho taniwha—the teeth of a taniwha
Niho taniwha is a traditional Māori pattern that symbolises strength and unity. The individual triangles are said to depict hapū within an iwi, which are brought together in the pattern to represent unity.
The niho taniwha pattern is found in kowhaiwhai panels at the entrance to the wharenui at Te Herenga Waka, and in tukutuku panels inside. We have used this element in the logo to symbolise collective strength. When the individual triangles are put together, they represent unity, strength, and community.
It is a fitting symbol for the University, where our multiple schools, faculties, and programmes create a whole with a shared sense of collective purpose.
It features a dark-green downward-facing triangle design in three rows: 'niho taniwha', a traditional Māori pattern.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara—Wellington Harbour
Beneath the niho taniwha is a representation of water—Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the harbour of Tara. Having the niho taniwha close to the water locates the University in this harbour city of Wellington. Our Māori name also reflects the idea of coming to the city through the harbour and being anchored and firmly placed here.
The inclusion of the University’s establishment date of 1897 in the shield highlights our heritage and legacy. The University was founded as Victoria University College of the University of New Zealand; then becoming Victoria University of Wellington and merging with the Wellington College of Education.
The shield outline is retained in the new design to link its historical use in the imagery of the University, and our British history, with a progressive new identity. The shield has previously been used to display a coat of arms.
The ceremonial crest
The shield has been incorporated into the ceremonial crest of the University for use on degree certificates and at special events such as graduation. The lion represents the Duke of Wellington and symbolises the courage of conviction and the role of universities in society to speak truth to power. The manaia is believed by Māori to be a guardian between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits.
Emphasis on Wellington
The word ‘Wellington’ has been placed prominently in the logo to couple our identity to the capital city and to draw attention to the word ‘Wellington’ in our legal name.
Victoria University of Wellington's vision is to be a world-leading capital city university and one of the great global–civic universities.View the strategic plan
Our partnerships with Wellington
The University’s partnerships in Wellington help drive economic growth, health, and wellbeing, and make the city a better place to live.View our partnerships
Although the University refreshed its brand in 2019/2020 to emphasise our capital city location, the word ‘Victoria’ continues to play an active role in the life of the University.
There are a number of ways in which the University retains the use of ‘Victoria’. This includes:
- The University’s legal name i.e. Victoria University of Wellington
- The presence of the University’s legal name in the new logo
- The use of the University’s legal name in academic publications e.g. research papers
- Colloquial names for the University e.g. ‘Vic’
- The names of student groups, clubs or societies e.g. VUWSA (unless any wish to change their name)
- The names of rooms and buildings of particular heritage importance e.g. the Victoria Room and the Hunter Building
- The name of the alumni publication Victorious
- The names of groups such as the Hunter Club, the Victoria Legacy Club and the Victoria Benefactors Circle
- The name of the Research Trust of Victoria University of Wellington
- The current Māori names of faculties and of the Te Aro and Pipitea Campuses