Graduates urged to ‘link with all humanity’

Soprano Ingrid  Fomison sings during the first of two University of Otago graduation ceremonies...
Soprano Ingrid Fomison sings during the first of two University of Otago graduation ceremonies at the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday. Photos: Peter McIntosh
Univiersity of Otago graduates should celebrate and maintain the "bonds of love" and their "links with all humanity and all life"on the planet, Prof Peter Crampton says.

Prof Crampton recently stood down as  pro-vice-chancellor, health sciences, and Otago Medical School dean.

He was commenting in an address to graduates, mainly in medicine and physiotherapy, at the 1pm graduation ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday.

Prof Peter Crampton, of the University of Otago,  speaks out on the importance of building...
Prof Peter Crampton, of the University of Otago, speaks out on the importance of building relationships and ‘‘the links of our common humanity’’.
He was proud of the graduates and knew they would "bring good to the world", and  pursue their "own personal and professional growth" in the future. Prof Crampton also reflected on the life of Thomas Bracken, the former Dunedin poet and MP who wrote the words for the national anthem God Defend New Zealand and was buried in the Northern Cemetery.

Bracken was a journalist,  poet and  politician, and his phrase "bonds of love", from the anthem also reflected Prof Crampton’s theme.

Bracken  won the  Dunedin Central parliamentary seat in 1881, and had, in a parliamentary speech, attacked the government’s dealings with Parihaka Maori in Taranaki, and what he saw as a "dishonourable breaching" of the Treaty of Waitangi".

Prof Crampton told the graduates  he shared with Bracken an interest "in the history of Parihaka" and "what it represents to New Zealand in terms of non-violent resistance".

Prof Crampton said he could carry on "making links, and weaving the flax bonds that bind us all within our country and between all of our countries".

Graduates were now bound together by those bonds, and to their families and friends.

The careers and travels of graduates would "scatter many of you to the four corners of the globe" but their friendships and family connections  "will remain with you forever", he said.

In an address to a second graduation ceremony at 4pm, pharmacy researcher and Otago pharmacy graduate Leanne Te Karu reflected on leadership and "the very ancient and sacred art of Polynesian ocean voyaging". Some anthropologists had described this Polynesian long-distance voyaging as "the greatest feat of our species", and this was also a story of "vision and leadership".

She reminded graduates  less than 1% of the world’s population had a tertiary undergraduate degree.

She urged students, before they began "the next stage of your own voyage", to realise "you have had the privilege of tutelage from a world-class university and to apply that tutelage to the common good".

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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