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Victoria University of Wellington looks to ditch 'Victoria'

The university wants a shorter name. Photo / Wikimedia Commons

University's name causes confusion with others sharing 'Victoria'. 

A Wellington City Councillor and the Forum for Māori academic interests at Victoria University want te reo to be included in the simplification of the education provider's name change.

Victoria University of Wellington is looking to shorten its name to University of Wellington, which was originally named after the monarch, marking the 60th anniversary of her coronation.

It was later changed to Victoria University of Wellington in the 1950s.

However, Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford said even with the name change, it still causes some confusion with other global Universities, especially Victoria in Australia.

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"Our work is regularly attributed to other Universities bearing our name, there's about six other Victoria Universities in the world, our staff use about eight different variants when reporting their work in publications," he said.

A name change will help build both the University's and City's reputation, professor Guilford said.

Wellington City Council is currently looking to introduce Māori ward names and city councillor and Victoria University alumna, Jill Day, said it would be a great opportunity for Victoria University to also incorporate te reo in their name.

"It fits really well with our city and the direction it's going and Victoria University has a very strong historical connection with the city and this would tie it in very well.

"Currently it does have a Māori name, but it would be wonderful to have a name widely used as part of their University," she said.

Councillor Day said she would like to see a name that is easy for people to use, so it can be said in everyday conversation.

Victoria currently has a Māori name of Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui, which translates to 'University of Wellington.'

However, Toihuarewa, the Forum for Māori academic interests at Victoria University of Wellington has proposed a more meaningful alternative.

Deputy Maori Vice-Chancellor Professor Rawinia Higgins said they've proposed the name of the University's marae, Te Herenga Waka.

"It represents the very essence of all things Māori at Victoria. The wharenui (meeting house) is Te Tumu Herenga Waka (the mooring post of canoes) and figuratively, staff and students are encouraged to hitch their waka to this space that not only anchors them there but gives a sense of connectedness," she said.

Professor Higgins said adopting Te Herenga Waka as part of the name simplification gives it meaning and is more representative of their essence or iho at Victoria.

Discussions are set to continue on the name change over the next few months until a final decision is made.

This article was originally published by RNZ.