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A wide-eyed crowd of 3000 first-year University of Otago students fills one side of Forsyth Barr Stadium for the annual Convocation Ceremony last night.
Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull joined the university's pro-chancellor Stuart McLauchlan and vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne for the formal welcome.
Mr Cull told the students to see themselves as "Dunedinites'', not visitors or tourists, and to venture beyond North Dunedin to experience all the city had to offer.
Prof Hayne warned the students the expectations the university had for them were very high.
But the rewards on offer were higher.
"Some of the best years of your life are about to begin. What happens here will shape both your personal and professional future.''
Mr English told students of his early days at the university, where he discovered "having lots of acne, no banter and enrolling in Latin didn't put you in the mainstream''.
While exhorting students to work hard, Mr English also encouraged them to offer "kind words and personal support'' to their peers.