University of Waikato

The University of Waikato (Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato), informally Waikato University, is a comprehensive university in Hamilton, New Zealand. The university was established in 1964, and has a satellite campus located in Tauranga.[4]

University of Waikato
Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
Coat of Arms of the University of Waikato
MottoMāori: Ko te tangata
Motto in English
For The People
Established1964; 55 years ago
ChancellorJim Bolger, ONZ
Vice-ChancellorNeil Quigley
Administrative staff
1,483 (FTS, 2014)[1]
Students9,904 (EFTS, 2016)[1]
Location, ,

New Zealand
AffiliationsACU, ASAIHL,
University rankings
THE World[2] 351–400
QS World[3] 274


The University of Waikato began in 1956 after Hamilton locals launched a petition for a university to serve the needs of the South Auckland region. The group was led by Douglas Seymour, a barrister, and subsequently Anthony "Rufus" Rogers, a Hamilton GP and brother to long-time Mayor of Hamilton, Denis Rogers.[5] Their campaign coincided with a shortage of teachers in the 1950s that prompted the New Zealand government to consider plans for a teachers’ college in the region.[6] In 1960, the newly established Hamilton Teachers’ College opened its doors, and combined with the fledgling university (then a branch of Auckland University), began a joint campus on farmland at Hillcrest, on the city's outskirts.[5]

In 1964, the two institutions moved to their new home, and the following year the University of Waikato was officially opened by then Governor-General Sir Bernard Fergusson.[5]

At this time the university comprised a School of Humanities and a School of Social Sciences.[5] In 1969 a School of Science (now the Faculty of Science and Engineering).was established.[7] This was followed by the creation of Waikato Management School in 1972,[5] Computer Science and Computing Services (which ultimately became the Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences) in 1973,[5] and the establishment of the School, now Faculty, of Law in 1990.[8]

From the beginning, it was envisaged that Māori studies should be a key feature of the new university,[5] and the Centre for Māori Studies and Research was set up in the School of Social Sciences in 1972.[5] A separate School of Māori and Pacific Development was formally established in 1996.[9] In 1999, the original Schools of Humanities and Social Sciences were merged to form the School (later Faculty) of Arts and Social Sciences.[10] In 2010, the tertiary partnership was widened to include Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.[11][12]

In 2014, the university became smoke-free, disallowing smoking on campus and in university-owned vehicles.[13]

Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law was founded in 1990 and is one of seven faculties that make up the University. The Faculty is located on the southeast side of the Hillcrest Campus in Hamilton, accessible from Hillcrest Road. The Law Faculty is also located at the Tauranga campus.

The Law Faculty adopted the principles of professionalism, biculturalism and the study of law in context. One of the key founders of the Waikato Faculty of Law was the 27th Speaker of the House Margaret Wilson who returned[14] to the faculty as a professor in January 2009.

General information

Faculties, schools and research institutes

 University of Waikato 
 Faculties and schools [15]

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Sciences

Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education

Te Huataki Waiora Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance

Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao – Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies

Te Piringa – Faculty of Law

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Te Mata Kairangi School of Graduate Research

Waikato Pathways College

Waikato Management School

 Research institutes [16]

Environmental Research Institute (ERI) Director: Professor Karin Bryan

Institute for Business Research (IBR) Director: Assoc Prof Asad Mohsin

Institute of Professional Learning (IPL) Director: Jan Martin

Te Kotahi Research Institute (TKRI) Director: Assoc Prof Leonie Pihama

National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) Director: Dr John Ryks

Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research (WMIER) Director: Prof Bronwen Cowie

Institute for Security and Crime Science Director: Associate Professor Ryan Ko

Structure and governance

The chief executive of the University of Waikato is the vice-chancellor, currently Professor Neil Quigley. The University is governed by a council, headed by the University's Chancellor, who is currently former New Zealand prime minister Rt Hon James B Bolger ONZ.

The University Council works with Te Rōpū Manukura, made up of representatives of the 16 iwi (Māori tribal) authorities in the University's catchment area. Te Rōpū Manukura is the Kaitiaki (guardian) of the Treaty of Waitangi for the University of Waikato, and acts to ensure that the University works in partnership with iwi to meet tertiary needs and aspirations of Māori communities.

The following list shows the university's chancellors:[17]

  • Denis Rogers (1964–1969)
  • J. Bruce McKenzie (1970–1972)
  • Henry R. Bennett (1973–1978)
  • C. Douglas Arcus (1979–1980)
  • The Hon Sir David Lance Tompkins QC (1981–1985)
  • Henry R. Bennett (1986–1987)
  • Dame Joy Drayton (1988–1991)
  • Gerald D.G. Bailey (1992–1997)
  • Caroline Bennett (1998–2002)
  • John A. Gallagher (2003–2005)
  • John B. Jackman (2006–2007)[18]
  • Rt Hon James Bolger ONZ (2007 – present)[18]


The University of Waikato operates from two campuses, Hamilton, and Tauranga. Undergraduate degrees are also offered through a satellite location on the campus of Zhejiang University City College in Hangzhou.[19]


The main Hamilton campus is spread over 64 hectares of landscaped gardens and lakes, and includes extensive sporting and recreational areas. Originally farmland, the campus was designed by architect John Blake-Kelly in 1964. The open space landscaping contains extensive native plantings, including a fernery, centred around three artificial lakes, created by draining marshy paddocks.[5]


The University of Waikato previously shared two campuses with Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology in Tauranga: Windmere and the Bongard Centre. In 2018, it was announced that the University would be moving all of their Tauranga operations to the Bongard Centre, with Toi Ohomai conversely moving their Bongard students to the Windmere campus.[20] In 2019, construction on a new campus on Durham Street is expected to be completed.[21]

The Student Centre officially opened in 2011 by Waikato alumnus Governor-General Jerry Mateparae.[22]


In the latest 2020 QS rankings, The University of Waikato leapt more than 100 places in six years to 266th place – in the top five percent of the world's 26,000 universities.[23]


Graduate Nathan Cohen (BMS; 2012) is a two-time world champion and Olympic champion in rowing.[24] The university also has current prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern as a notable alumna.[25]


Student associations

The Waikato Students' Union represents all students on campus, and publishes the student magazine Nexus.[26] Law students are represented by the University of Waikato Law Students' Association,[27] Te Whakahiapo (the Māori law students' association),[28] and the Pacific Law Students' Association.[29], The University of Waikato's Women In Law Association, Management students are represented by the Waikato Management School Students' Association (WMSSA), Management Communication Students' Association (MCSA), Pacific Islands Management Students Association (PIMSA), and Te Ranga Ngaku (TRN).


  1. "University of Waikato Annual Report 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  2. "World University Rankings". 18 August 2017. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  3. "University of Waikato". June 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  4. "History of University of Waikato: University of Waikato". Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  5. Day, Paul. (1984) From The Ground Up: An informal chronicle of the genesis and development of the University of Waikato 1964–1984. University of Waikato, pp. 6, 18,-27, 30, 55, 56, 58–60, 157–9, 172–5, 219.
  6. Celebrating 50 years of Teacher Education, 1960–2010, University of Waikato (2010), pp. 2, 3–4
  7. Celebrating 40 years of Science & Engineering, 1969–2009, University of Waikato (2009), p. 1
  8. "New Name for Faculty". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  9. University of Waikato Calendar 1996, p. 31
  10. University of Waikato Calendar 1999, p. 16
  11. "Chancellor's Overview". Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  12. "Tauranga Uni Campus One Step Closer". Bay of Plenty Times. 26 January 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  13. "Smoke Free Policy – Official Information Index : University of Waikato". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  14. "News + Events – Te Piringa : University of Waikato". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  15. "Faculties and Schools: University of Waikato".
  16. "Research Institutes: University of Waikato".
  17. "Former Chancellors of the University of Waikato". University of Waikato. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  18. "Former Prime Minister elected Chancellor of Waikato University". University of Waikato. 15 February 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  19. Biddle, Donna Lee (12 October 2017). "University of Waikato offers students degree overseas". Stuff.
  20. "Campus changes to benefit tertiary partners". SunLive. 13 November 2018.
  21. Hunter, Zoe (11 May 2018). "Exclusive: Tauranga's new university campus a year ahead of deadline". New Zealand Herald.
  22. "University of Waikato Student Centre – Portfolio". Warren and Mahoney. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  23. "Rankings and Reputation". The University of Waikato. Retrieved June 2018. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  24. "Waikato Alumni Named in New Year Honours List". University of Waikato. 8 March 2013. Archived from the original on 1 November 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
  25. "Waikato BCS grad Jacinda Ardern becomes leader of the NZ Labour Party". University of Waikato. 2 August 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017.
  26. "Waikato Student Union". WSU. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  27. "University of Waikato Law Students' Association". University of Waikato. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  28. "Te Whakahiapo". Waikato University. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  29. "Pacific Law Students' Association". University of Waikato. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
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