Otago launches new global brand identity

 In News

The name University of Otago will remain but the Reo name of the 155-year-old institution has now been changed to Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka – meaning ‘a place of many firsts’.

Based on New Zealand’s South Island, Otago has always been a key trading outpost and centre for cutting-edge research.

“We had an old Māori name. It was an incorrect transliteration of the name of the region where the university is based,” explained Hone Paul, director of marketing. “We’ve corrected that and gone back to the inspiration of our unique place in the world.”

The rebrand includes a new tohu or symbol, that draws inspiration from the Ōtākou channel – a natural harbour that has brought water, trade and life to and from the region for generations.

This geography is seen as the perfect metaphor for Otago’s knowledge exchange across Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

Having launched the new brand identity across the university’s three campuses, a delegation travelled to the NAFSA conference and expo to introduce the new identity to international partners.

The rebrand consultation has taken almost five years to complete, and the university will now limit the use of the traditional coat of arms to formal ceremonies.

The PIE News spoke to Jacinta Ruru, the first Maori professor of law, and recently appointed deputy vice chancellor of the Māori office at the University of Otago.

“Otago doesn’t have any meaning for us [as indigenous people]… there’s always been a strong desire to return to our traditional name,” explained Ruru.

“The restoration and revitalisation of our language is hugely important part of our culture. We see it as not just a language, but as a way of thinking, of expressing our values and our worldview.

A woman came up to me and said, ‘are you from Otago?’ It turned out she’d been a study abroad student 12 years ago for a semester

Jason Cushen, Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka

“The challenge has been to ensure that, from the start, that this was an authentic and genuine process,” Ruru continued.

120,000 alumni were consulted in the process, along with about 20,000 students and 7,000 staff members. The process of consultation is seen as important as the rebrand itself, as the community adopts the vision and values of why the change was necessary, and what the university means to them.

International student interest for New Zealand is increasing, with many students searching for alternative destinations to the traditional ‘big four’ English speaking study destinations.

Jason Cushen, director of international, feels the rebrand has come at the perfect time to support the University’s international mission.

“Numbers are steadily returning to our 2019 level, so talking about the wider strategic settings at the university this positively linked to the brand and our activity with alumni and international partners.

“We’ve now got a goal of 20 percent international by 2030 which will be significantly more than we’ve ever had before.

“On our way over, we came through San Francisco and I had the new-branded t shirt on. A woman came up to me and said, ‘are you from Otago?’ It turned out she’d been a study abroad student twelve years ago for a semester and she was really excited to learn more about the changes and our outreach work,” he added.

The post Otago launches new global brand identity appeared first on The PIE News.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt