Members of Council
Professor Grant Guilford, Vice-Chancellor
Simon Healy, Director Strategic Projects
22 May 2018
Process regarding a re-consideration of the University’s name
REF TO STRAT PLAN All
This paper provides the Council with an overview of the process for investigating a
simplification of the University’s name and for implementing a change to the name
should such a recommendation be made by management and approved by Council.
It is recommended that the Council ratify the proposed process.
Research and analysis of Victoria’s international reputation has shown good evidence
that the current name of ‘Victoria University of Wellington’ is causing confusion
internationally. We are one of a number of Victoria Universities worldwide and the
name Victoria is generally not associated with our location, causing confusion for
international audiences. Consequently, our very high quality of research and teaching
is not as well recognised offshore as it should be.
This research and analysis has also shown shifting to a simplified name, such as the
‘University of Wellington’, will reduce this confusion and improve international
The name ‘University of Wellington’ aligns with New Zealand’s capital city.
Civic universities (including global-civic universities) are first and foremost
about their city and are prepared to tie their fortunes to those of their city.
Wellington is our city – not Victoria;
The University’s low international brand awareness is also not in keeping with
its very high academic standards. Research and analysis suggests at least
some of this international reputation vacuum is due to the lack of clarity and
distinctiveness associated with our name; and
Adoption of a name that centres on “Wellington’ rather than on ‘Victoria’
improves the likelihood that other Wellington-based organisations will feel
comfortable working with us under a collective banner.
The potential change in name for Victoria University of Wellington, or Name
Simplification project, is one part of a wider programme of work occurring to improve
the international reputation of the university. This programme of work is investigating
and implementing a series of initiatives targeted to increase the international
prominence of the university and increase international name recognition. As well as
the Name Simplification project, this programme includes
The process for changing name
The process for formally changing the name is relatively simple. Under section 162(5)
of the Education Act 1989, the Council must make a recommendation to the Minister
who, in turn may change the name by publishing a notice in the Gazette.
Current work underway to inform a potential name change decision
We are currently planning for a decision on the potential name change for the
University to be made at the Council meeting on
. To help inform this
decision we are conducting six areas of work, with summaries (at least) from each of
these areas to be provided as part of the decision paper in
International research on the name Victoria University of Wellington and
potential alternative names
. This work is largely complete and summaries of
this research was provided to the Council previously.
Stakeholder discussions and feedback on the potential name change.
This includes discussions with Staff, Students, Alumni, stakeholders and other
members of the public. Further details of this process is contained in
Change to our Māori name:
Although the current Māori name, Te Whare
Wānanga o Te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui, is a translation of University of
Wellington a new name is being considered. The proposed Māori name would
change to ‘Te Herenga Waka’, the name of the University’s marae, which
represents the very essence of all things Māori at Victoria rather than just a
Design and brand work.
We are in the final stages of a competitive process
to appoint a design company to review our name and brand material to
support a potential name change.
is our preferred
company. A summary of the brief for this work can be found in Appendix 2.
Securing Trademarks and
Planning of further work required if the name were to change
While no work on implementation of a name change will occur before any decision,
planning of required activities is being undertaken to ensure any decision to change
could effectively and efficiently be executed. Appendix 4 shows a visualisation of the
different areas of planned work for any name change. The two key dates for the
planned work are a change decision by Council on
, and launch of the
new name on
These plans are still work in progress and refined
plans will accompany the decision papers on
. It should also be noted
that all work in the appended plan beyond
assumes a decision to change
name is made on
. Should this not be the case this work plan would
either stop or need reworking if a decision was made later.
Stakeholder feedback and the above analysis and planning will be compiled for a
decision paper on potential name change at the
Council meeting. Any prior
major updates on this process and significant areas of feedback will be provided as an
update to Council in the
Appendix 1: Stakeholder discussion and feedback
The University is taking a proactive approach to communication and engagement
internally and externally, and within New Zealand and internationally. Discussion on
the topic is being targeted at multiple audiences and feedback is being actively sought
from these interactions (in person, via phone or via email). The following provides brief
detail on plans for each audience:
Provide opportunity for input and keep updated via regular Council
with Te Aka Matua (incorporating Ngāi Tauira
representatives), Toihuarewa, and mana whenua were held early.
Engaged early on and provided with context and
ability to feedback.
SLT and other senior staff:
Provided with key messages and Q&A. These
staff members are feeding back areas of concern to V-C and identifying
opportunities for V-C to further engage key groups.
High influence stakeholders:
Discussions with influential stakeholders and
engagement with them to ensure context is understood. This group includes
Advisory Board members, external organisations, funders, and partner
Open discussion with staff in forums and other discussions to enable
them to help identify ways to ensure Victoria’s reputation is recognised on the
international stage and provide feedback on the potential change.
Engaged as key members of the University community, ensuring they
are provided with context and ability to feedback. Influential alumni have been
identified and more targeted discussions had directly with them.
Donors and prospective donors:
As valued members of the University
community, they have been provided context and given opportunity to
feedback on ideas to ensure Victoria’s reputation is recognised on the
international stage. Direct engagement has occurred with major individual
We have engaged with key student leaders and in wider open
discussions with students on the topic (with support by student association
representatives for the potential change).
Vice-Chancellor is the spokesperson for the potential change and
direct communication with the media. Our approach is to respond quickly to
questions and for the V-C to be available for interviews wherever possible.
Further detail on discussions with Students, Staff, Alumni, other key stakeholders and
members of the public can be found on the following pages.
Discussions with students has occurred with student representative groups (such as
VUWSA), open forums, through articles and advertising in the student magazine,
Salient and via social media. This discussion is planned to continue over the next
month, with closing date for email feedback on 8 June 2018. Planned and completed activities (italicised items complete)
Apr 17: Met with VUWSA Executive
May 4: Student presentation in the Hub, feedback opened
May 8-11: Meetings with:
o VUWSA Executive
o International Student Association representatives
o Student Academic Board representatives
o Postgraduate Association representatives
May 14: Advertisement and article in Salient
Throughout May: Posts on social media channels that our
students engage with, use of DID screens to encourage feedback
and providing material to VUWSA to promote the link to
information on our website and the feedback address through
May-June: On-going discussions with student representatives
June 8: Feedback closes
Initial feedback from students
General feedback from students has been mixed. The VUWSA Executive is very
supportive of a potential name change and the VUWSA President has publicly spoken
in support of the change. There has been some debate on social media with a number
of students expressing attachment to the name Victoria and concern about the costs of
the name simplification. Providing a link so people can view the Vice-Chancellor’s
presentation to students, and hear the reasoning behind the proposal, has been
important. Initial conversations with the International Students Association and
Postgraduate students Association presidents have been supportive and fol ow-up
meetings with their executive teams is scheduled.
Discussions with staff started in late February, engaging with senior leaders on the
research findings on our International reputation. These discussions widened to all staff
in early May with staff forums and direct feedback from these forums continues to be
encouraged and received from staff. Discussions with staff are continuing at all levels
in the University and Senior Leadership Team members are gathering feedback from
teams. Planned and completed activities (italicised items complete)
Discussions with SLT, Deans, CSU Directors, Heads of School,
Academic Board and Foundation Board
May 1-4: Staff forums
May 7: VicNews article published
May 8: SLT Deans & Directors meeting
May 14: VicNews article and link to V-C presentation of staff
forums published, with email address provided for feedback.
May 23: Heads of School and CSU Directors forum
May-June: On-going discussions with staff
May-July: VC visits to numerous schools, CSU’s and Victoria
Feedback will continue to be received by VC and SLT through
June and early July
Initial feedback from staff
Discussions with SLT, Deans, Heads of School and CSU Directors revealed a strong
consensus in support of name simplification and a timely decision. They also feel it is
important to find ways to honour our heritage and
scholar of Victorian literature is willing to lead a working group on this should it be
required. Toihuarewa has been supportive of the name simplification and strongly
support inclusion of Te Herenga Waka as part of the University’s name. Other staff
feedback has been largely positive but certainly not unanimous with a number of staff
providing their own experiences of confusion around Victoria’s name.
Discussions with key Alumni started shortly prior to the Staff forums in early May. The
Trustees of the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation have been consulted. For
the majority of Alumni, the proposal was first notified via either media coverage or the
Alumni newsletter circulated to 50,000 Alumni email addresses on 9 May 2018.
International Alumni events have also been recently used to discuss the potential
change, with the topic being discussed in events in San Francisco, New York,
Edinburgh and London. Planned and completed activities (italicised items complete)
Late April: Influential Alumni informed and topic discussed at San
Francisco and New York Alumni events
May 9: Alumni e-newsletter circulated to 50,000 Alumni inviting
May 9: Feedback opened
Early May: Topic discussed at Edinburgh and London Alumni
Early May: Further discussions held with influential Alumni
Throughout May: Alumni focus groups
June 8: Feedback closes
Initial feedback from alumni
Feedback from Alumni has been mixed. The Trustees of the Victoria University of
Wellington Foundation are strongly supportive of the name simplification. Alumni groups
consulted in alumni events offshore in London, New York, Edinburgh, and San
Francisco have been nostalgic about the name but supportive of a change given the
accumulated evidence. Feedback from alumni via email has been variable with some
saying ‘just do it’ and some keen to retain the name and its heritage. Not surprisingly,
alumni living and working in Australia are particularly interested in dropping the word
Victoria because it regularly links them to Victoria University in Melbourne – a university
that they do not wish to be associated with.
Discussions with other key stakeholders (donors, local government, etc)
Key influential stakeholders outside of the Staff, Student and Alumni groups have also
been kept well informed on the potential name change. The first engagement with the
Minister on the topic was through a letter in late February on this and other key strategic
topics for the University. Since then discussions have been held with key influential
stakeholders and key donors and will continue through this process. Planned and completed activities (italicised items complete)
Feb 28: Letter to the Minister of Education
March – April: Communication with Mayor, WCC CEO, WREDA,
TEC, MoE, Education NZ, the Chamber of Commerce, Former
Chancellors & VC’s, key individuals, US/UK friends of the
University and Regional Alumni Ambassadors
o Informing and discussions with VC’s from other Universities
o Further engagement with key stakeholders
o Informing other organisations with Victoria in their name
30 May: Wellington Stakeholder briefing
June 7-8: Universities NZ Away Days for VCs
June 12: Quarterly meeting with
June 13: Benefactors Circle
June 15: Regular meeting with experience Wellington
June 28: NZ-China Board meeting
Late June: University Stakeholder Briefing(s)
July 5: Speech to secondary school principals
Initial feedback from key stakeholders
The current and two former Mayors are strongly supportive noting the importance of
close alignment between the City and the University. Other civic leaders have also been
supportive including the
Feedback from the Vice-Chancellors of
other New Zealand universities received to date is that they have no objections to the
proposed name simplification.
The prior VCs and Chancellors that have been contactable have
also been supportive.
Public discussions to date has been through media and social media channels. Media
coverage started 1 May 2018 with the release of the news of potential change following
Staff forums. A public meeting on the potential name change will be held on 23 May
2018 in Wellington. Four OIA requests have been received to date regarding the
potential name change process. Planned and completed activities (italicised items complete)
May 1: Initial media coverage
Throughout May: Discussions with media and engagement with
public through social media
May 9: Information published on Victoria University Website and
May 11: Media release of upcoming public meeting
May 23: Public meeting to be held in Wellington
June 8: Feedback closes
Throughout June and July: Continued media and social media
Jun - Jul
discussions as required
Initial public feedback
Media coverage to date on the topic has been well balanced with good coverage of the
reasons for change. Commentary in relation to these stories and on social media has
tended to be more negative, but volumes of comments and posts have fallen
significantly since the initial media releases. Media are continuing to engage on the
topic from time to time.
Four OIA requests have also been received to date in relation to the potential name
change. These requests have been primarily for documents (including emails) and
financial information on the potential change.
Appendix 2: Design Brief for potential agency
In our brief to potential design agencies to support us on the Name Simplification work
we asked that three pieces of interconnected work be undertaken.
The first was for an agency to share their reflections on our approach to this piece of
work, based on their experience with brands that have both a national and
international presence. This piece of work is designed to test our thinking.
The second piece of work is to review Victoria University of Wellington’s established
brand architecture that includes Faculty descriptions and a number of sub brands that
will be considered in any rebranding of the University. There are externally facing
examples such as Victoria Business School and Viclink as well as brands that are
used mainly internally of which Victoria Info Ihonui and Victoria Recreation are
examples. We are seeking advice on the best approach for our sub brands.
The third piece of work is design, based primarily on the University’s current branding.
There has been some preliminary design work on the University logo for internal
consultation and a view has been formed about the key elements to be included. A
design brief will be provided to the successful agency. Following this, we envisage the
agency will also prepare concise brand guidelines for the use of the new brand.
Note; the briefing to Agencies was sent under a signed non-disclosure agreement
Appendix 3: Trademarks and
New Zealand trademarks
In order to avoid being held to ransom by opportunists, we have filed, or intend to file,
the following trademarks in New Zealand. If we do not decide to progress the name
simplification we can drop these applications.
1 The current crest is already registered in classes 16, 41, and 42. Therefore, if we retain it, we would
only need to file in additional classes 9, 25, 35, 36, 39 and 43.
Costs increase based on the number of marks, the number of classes and the number
of countries. We are therefore carefully considering whether to register overseas, what
marks to register (if any), which classes (if any) and which countries (if any).
Appendix 4: Summary plans for implementation of the potential name
simplification process (best printed on A3)