Ko Te Tangata: For the People

The development of the University of Waikato is a story of vision, perseverance, collaboration, and a commitment to our community.

The principle of Ko Te Tangata: For the People, has underpinned its development since the mid-1950s when the need for a university in Hamilton became evident to both regional and national leaders and a pioneering group seized the opportunity to drive the proposal forward.

The Official opening of the University, 1965 Dr. Llewellyn, Mrs Ruth Llewellyn, Governor-General, Sir Bernard Fergusson (Later Lord Ballantrae), Mrs Helen Rogers, Dr Denis Rogers (Chancellor)

Fulfilling a Vision

Dr Anthony 'Rufus' Rogers and Douglas Seymour spearheaded an eight-year-long campaign to fulfill the vision of a unique New Zealand model of university education in Hamilton city.

At the time there was a shortage of school teachers, and their energetic lobbying eventually swayed the then Minister of Education Philip Skoglund to open a teachers' college in the region. The Hamilton Teachers College was initially a branch of the University of Auckland situated in Melville. But, as the campaign endured and our fledgling university took hold, the College and our new university moved to a joint campus at Ruakura. In 1964 the University of Waikato was officially opened by then Governor-General Sir Bernard Fergusson.

A view past Teachers' College

Roots in the Land

The University's first home was on land that was once a research farm, known as Ruakura No 5. And while the cows have long since departed, our commitment to research and growth remains.

Founding and Growth

When the University officially opened our doors at our purpose-built campus, it was under the leadership of our founding Vice-Chancellor, Sir Don Llewellyn. We began our journey with a School of Humanities and a School of Social Sciences and over the years, new schools were established, including science, management, law, computing, and health, reflecting our dedication to providing diverse and comprehensive education that endures today.

C Block under construction

Honouring Tradition, Embracing Partnership

Central to our identity has always been our relationship with the Kīngitanga and Waikato-Tainui. Our campus sits on land once inhabited by Waikato-Tainui and returned to the tribe in 1995, vested in the name of the first Māori King, Pootatau Te Wherowhero, and our commitment to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi is paramount. Through initiatives like Kīngitanga Day and the establishment of Te Rōpū Manukura, a consultative body to the University Council, we celebrate and uphold our partnership with Waikato-Tainui, ensuring that our journey is guided by the principles of mutual respect and collaboration.

Welcome Powhiri to new students, February 2021

Looking Ahead

As we celebrate 60 years of excellence, the University of Waikato remains committed to our founding principles of community, innovation, and partnership. With a legacy built on the pioneering spirit of our founders and the support of our community, we look forward to continuing our journey of excellence in education and research and making a meaningful impact for generations to come.

Inside the Hamilton Campus, Pā. Opened July 2023