Passing of Dr Norman Kingsbury

13 December 2019

It is with great sadness that we advise of the passing of the University’s first Registrar, Dr Norman Kingsbury, on Thursday. He was 87.

Dr Kingsbury began his university career in student politics in the 1950s while he was at Canterbury University, before going on to work at the National Union of Students in Leiden, The Netherlands.

In 1964, following an apprenticeship at Victoria University of Wellington where he became Assistant Registrar, Dr Kingsbury was appointed as the foundation Registrar at the University of Waikato. During his 24 year tenure, he also acted as Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Kingsbury and foundation Vice-Chancellor, Don Llewellyn, formed a cohesive partnership both in developing the new campus and in forming an inclusive vision for the University. Dr Kingsbury’s role evolved beyond that of Registrar to a key advisor. He was a strong advocate in ensuring the University recognise its responsibilities to Māori in the region, and in widening access through continuing education, distance learning and co-operation with other institutions. He was determined that the physical campus should be coherent, practical and attractive.

From 1978-80 he worked in Botswana as the foundation Registrar of the new university there, setting up systems and preparing local staff for autonomy.

Dr Kingsbury was a key figure in tertiary education reforms between 1988-1993, having held the role of chairperson of the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission, advising the Government on the direction of tertiary education, and then as Chief Executive of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in 1990.

Dr Kingsbury was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato for his service in 1990.

Having spent so much of his life dedicated to the success of this University and the thousands of students that came through the doors during his time, Dr Kingsbury will be greatly missed by past and present colleagues across the University, and his legacy will be remembered by many.

Our thoughts are with Dr Kingsbury’s children Benedict, Anna, Jonathan, Vivienne and Derek, his wider family, friends and former colleagues.

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