Making history

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The College, which became The University of Auckland in 1962, was officially opened by his Excellency the Governor of New Zealand, Sir William Jervois on 21 May 1883 at a well-attended ceremony in the Choral Hall. Despite the fanfare, the new university was, in reality, a rather humble affair. With an income of £4000, no extra money for buildings and only the former District Courthouse in Eden Ave at its disposal, it was possibly not what the new Professors, fresh from the hallowed halls of Oxford and Cambridge, had expected.

To celebrate this fact, Student Information and Marketing Services is producing a set of 12 videos to showcase the University's historic buildings and the wealth of talent that line within.

The videos are full of academic superstars. The talent includes University luminaries such as Emeritus Professor Ranginui Walker, Distinguished Professor Jane Harding and Professor Raewyn Dalziel. People from the wider community who are connected to the University also contribute.

The content for the videos is diverse, ranging from an exploration of the University Art Collection to a look at Auckland University Press and its contribution to the world of publishing in New Zealand. Summer Shakespeare's humble beginnings 50 years ago are brought to life through the help of, among others, an interview with Emeritus Professor Nicholas Tarling - one of the earliest cast members and board member of the AUSA Outdoor Shakespeare Trust.

The best part of the project for producer Naomi Bradshaw (Advertising and Promotions Manager), has been the collaboration between faculties and service divisions and the unraveling of stories that she believes are inspiring and good to share with "our community of students and staff and the wider Auckland community". One that stands out is the McGregor Museum at the School of Biological Sciences, a treasure trove for natural history buffs and biology teachers that "people wouldn't even know is there".

In addition to the videos are the heritage trail and art trail phone apps. Available as part of the University phone app, the self guided tours can be found under the maps functionality. The heritage tour provides an insight into the seaside community that Auckland City once was, where wealthy traders built their homes along Princes Street, creating family fortunes whose names we still know today, such as Nathans (Alfred Nathan House).

"One of the things I am most exited about is the impact of the videos and apps," says Naomi. "I walk through the University past buildings like the ClockTower and my perception of everything has changed because I know the history behind it all.

View all the University history videos and download the AucklandUni smart phone app to access heritage and art tours.