University of Canterbury

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University of Canterbury
Canterbury University coat of arms
Motto Ergo tua rura manebunt
"therefore may your fields remain [unto you]"
(Virgil, Eclogues)
Established 1873
Chancellor Dr Robin Mann
Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Sharp
Location Christchurch, New Zealand
Students 12,600 total (1,800 graduate)

The University of Canterbury is a university located in the suburbs of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. It offers degrees in Arts, Commerce, Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Forestry, Law, Music, and Science.



Missing image
The Central Library at the University of Canterbury

The University has a 760,000 square metre site at Ilam, a suburb of Christchurch about 7 km from the city centre. There are five libraries with the 11 storey Central Library being the tallest building on the campus. Also of note is the Rutherford Building, which houses the Physics & Astronomy and Chemistry departments.

There are five Halls of residence: Bishop Julius Hall, College House, Rochester and Rutherford Hall, University Hall, Ilam Village.

Missing image
The Science Lecture Theatre complex with the top of the Physics & Astronomy and Chemistry building in the background

There are four field stations that are administered by the Field Facilities Centre:

The Department of Physics and Astronomy run their own field laboratory:

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is also involved in the Southern African Large Telescope.


The Vice-Chancellor is Professor Roy Sharp, who has held this position since 2003. The governing body of the University is the Council. The Council Chair is the Chancellor, who in 2004 is Dr Robin Mann. Also on the council are representatives from the faculties, students and general staff.

There are six faculties:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business and Economics
  • Engineering and Forestry
  • Science
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Law

The University is state funded.

Students and faculty

As of 2003, there were a total of 12,591 students, with 1,864 being Post-Graduates and 2,094 being international students (students who are not New Zealand citizens or residents). There were 653 academic staff and 892 general staff.

Student Association and Traditions

The University of Canterbury Student Association (UCSA ( is active on campus with its own radio station RDU and magazine Canta. They also run several bars, the 430 seat Ngaio Marsh Theatre, and several cafes around campus.

There are several societies and clubs. The most prominent of these is Ensoc (, The Engineering Society.

One of the biggest traditions is the Undie 500. This is an annual car rally from Christchurch to Dunedin run by Ensoc. The only stipulation is the car must cost under $500.


The university was established in 1873 in the centre of Christchurch as Canterbury College, the first constituent college of the University of New Zealand. It was the second institution in New Zealand providing tertiary level education, following the University of Otago which was established in 1869, and the fourth in Australasia.

It was created out of the efforts of the Canterbury Museum and Library and Christ's College, which were dissatisfied with the state of higher education in Canterbury. From 1871 to 1873 Christ's College was an affiliated college of the University of New Zealand. When Canterbury College was established in 1873 Christ's College became affiliated to the Canterbury College.

In 1933, the College's name was changed from Canterbury College to Canterbury University College. In 1957 its name was changed again to the present University of Canterbury. Also in 1957 Christ's College became disaffiliated, and the upper department of Christ's joined the University as College House.

Until 1961, the University College had been part of the University of New Zealand, and issued degrees in its name. In that year the federal system was dissolved and the University of Canterbury became an independent University issuing its own degrees.

Upon the UNZ's demise, the Canterbury Agricultural College became a constituent college of the University of Canterbury, becoming Lincoln College, Canterbury. Lincoln College was made independent in 1990, becoming a full university.

Over the period 1961 - 1974, the university campus relocated from the centre of the city to its much larger current site in the suburb of Ilam. The neo-gothic buildings of the old campus are now the site of the Christchurch Arts Centre, a hub for arts, crafts and entertainment in Christchurch.

Coat of Arms

The University inherited the arms of the former Canterbury College.

The "dead sheep" (actually a silver fleece) symbolises the pastoral pursuits of the province of Canterbury, while the plough on the base of the shield symbolises agriculture. The symbols from the at the top are (from left to right) Bishop's pall, an open book and a cross flory. The two crosses represent Canterbury's ecclesiastical connections. As it is an institution of learning, the University's coat of arms does not have a helmet, crest or mantling on its armorial bearings.

Noted alumni and faculty

See also

External links

Other universities named Canterbury:


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