150th: year of celebration gets going

150th anniversary project convener Prof Helen Nicholson. Photo: supplied
150th anniversary project convener Prof Helen Nicholson. Photo: supplied
The banners are up and the University of Otago's 150th anniversary year is under way.

A massive programme of 150th anniversary events are planned, from a public picnic on the clocktower lawn to an academic street parade, heritage and sporting events, 35 conferences, a ball and the Tally Ho! 3 concert.

The celebrations began with the Burns Night supper at the Dunedin Town Hall on January 25.

In charge of steering the celebration ship are 150th anniversary project convener Prof Helen Nicholson and co-ordinator Kerry Buchan, who have been working on the celebrations for the past 18 months and are looking forward to the year with nervous excitement.

The entire Dunedin community is invited to take part in the university's 150th birthday picnic, to be held on the clocktower lawn on Friday, February 15, from 5.30pm.

The picnic would a chance for new students and their families arriving in Dunedin to join with staff, students, alumni and the wider community, Mrs Buchan said.

The event will include music from local band Loose and Colourful, children's activities and food trucks for those who haven't brought their own picnic.

University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne is delighted to be hosting the community on campus.

"The university has always been a huge part of the city and this is a wonderful opportunity to invite the Dunedin community into our home to help us celebrate our 150th anniversary,'' Prof Hayne said.

Prof Nicholson said picnics would also be held in Christchurch, Auckland and Hong Kong, to mark the occasion.

A new history of the University of Otago, entitled Otago, 150 Years of New Zealand's First University, by Dr Alison Clarke, will be launched on March 15.

This will be followed on March 16 by a street parade of students and staff, dressed in their most colourful attire and regalia, to celebrate the diversity of the university.

"We are hoping our international students will really get involved to really add to the vibrancy of the parade,'' Mrs Buchan said.

BRENDA.HARWOOD @thestar.co.nz

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