Shihad heads 'O Week' at stadium

Several University of Otago Orientation events, including a concert by rock band Shihad, will be held at Forsyth Barr Stadium next year.

Shihad is the first major act to be announced to headline the Otago University Students Association's traditional start-of-year activities, billed as "Orientadium MMXII".

Association president Logan Edgar predicted a "colossal Orientadium" to welcome back new and returning students.

"Our team has sorted out the ultimate student stadium experience and we're ready to host the biggest 'O Week' in New Zealand ever," Mr Edgar said.

The OUSA is expected to announce a second major act in January to perform alongside Shihad.

While Orientation events in the past have been organised mainly by OUSA, next year's event has more of a collaborative buy-in from academic, civic and venue management partners. Mr Edgar was joined by University of Otago chief operating officer John Patrick, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull and Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive David Davies at the stadium yesterday.

"Orientadium" events will be hosted in separate, reconfigured parts of the stadium, OUSA events manager Kitty Brown said.

A new era of collaboration between the university and OUSA is developing as the two organisations forge a relationship based on a shared student service funding agreement.

Mr Patrick said an academic component, scheduled to be held at the College of Education auditorium, is to be included as part of the usual week-long social-orientated events.

Otago Vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne and Mr Cull will extend an official welcome to new students at a ceremony at the east stand of the indoor stadium.

The $5.7 million upgrading of the University Union building - the traditional venue for previous Orientation events - is the main reason behind the move to the stadium.

Mr Patrick said the university wanted to use stadium facilities "as much as we possibly can" and a recent agreement with OUSA meant there would be a greater emphasis on the joint provision of services and events.

Mr Cull said the stadium was a great place to welcome and initiate new student arrivals to Dunedin, given it had been promoted all along as an asset to the university.

About 4500 tickets will be available for sale to students and the general public for the main concerts, which will be held in a reconfigured west stand.

New Zealand comedians Dai Henwood, 2010 Billy T winner Rhys Mathewson and Rose Matafeo would headline a comedy night, while the traditional toga party event would be a students-only affair, Ms Brown said.




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