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‘‘We have really had our mettle tested here,’’ Prof Hayne told the university’s council yesterday.
‘‘It has been an incredible emotional rollercoaster.’’
Prof Hayne paid tribute to people who helped the university get through the lockdown and its aftermath and became emotional when thanking chief operating officer Stephen Willis.
‘‘There is no way that we would have survived with Steve,’’ she said.
‘‘His discipline, organisation and good humour set us up for what we had to face.’’
Critical services were taken off-site during lockdown.
Prof Hayne said Mr Willis got the job done while parenting four children and while his wife worked as a nurse.
‘‘He led us with a toddler on his shoulder.’’
Prof Hayne said the leadership team decided early to provide necessary support for staff and students, including pastoral care.
‘‘Very early in the piece, we set our moral compass.’’
AskOtago was one service that needed a boost to enable it to respond to an increased number of queries.
The university also confirmed yesterday that three more graduation ceremonies would probably be needed this year, after May’s four ceremonies were cancelled.
More than 1000 graduates and graduands who missed public graduation ceremonies in May have indicated they want to take part in person.
The university has signalled an additional ceremony could take place on August 15.
Two more could be held in late November or early December.