University of Otago Heritage Buildings Walks - Wednesday

Wednesday 25 September:  4.00 - 5.00pm

See Dunedin Gothic en masse and at its finest on the University of Otago campus with a walking tour of Heritage New Zealand’s listed places. Learn about the people that built these places, and the trials and tribulations of New Zealand's oldest university as it expanded.

Book a guided tour with local experts from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and Southern Heritage Trust.

Tours are limited so secure your place now.

Meet outside the University of Otago Visitors' Centre and Gift Shop at least 10 minutes before your selected tour is scheduled to begin.


Dr Helen Pearson Public Lecture: 150 years of Nature, the past, present and future of a leading journal

Thurs 26 Sept 6.00 - 7.00pm 

St David’s Lecture Theatre  FREE EVENT

2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Nature, the most authoritative scientific journal in the world. The history of Nature mirrors how science and its role in society have changed over that time. Helen Pearson, Nature’s Chief Magazine Editor, will talk about the journal’s rich legacy and its continued mission to serve the global research community and communicate the results of science worldwide


Backstory - Heritage in Words, Pictures, and Threads

Wed 25 Sept: 6.00pm - 7.00pm 

Castle 1, University of Otago.


We bring four individuals together to talk about an expansive and inclusive concept of cultural heritage through the lenses of literature, literary criticism, film, and textiles:

  • Tina Makereti grew her latest novel, The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke, from an 1846 article in the London Times
  • Lisa Chatfield is charged with bringing 1860s’ Dunedin and the West Coast to life as producer of the BBC-adaptation of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's Booker Prize-winning novel
  • Catherine Smith’s current research focus is the interdisciplinary analysis of Māori textiles based on a background in archaeology and conservation of cultural materials
  • Madeleine Seys is an expert in the narrative and sartorial threads of Victorian popular literature.

Chaired by Kirby-Jane Hallum and supported by Dunedin City of Literature


1869 Conference Saturday Morning Sessions

Sat 28 September

1869 Conference Day Pass, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm, St David Lecture Theatre Complex, $45 (includes morning tea)

Register Here:

9.00 – 11.00am        Concurrent Sessions:


  • Jonathan West, ‘You see the blank on the map? I wish you to fill it up: James McKerrow’s exploration of the southern lakes in the 1860s'.
  • James Beattie and Warwick Brunton, ‘The Place and Power of Natural History in Colonization: William Lauder Lindsay and the scientific development of Otago’s human and natural resources, 1860-80'.
  • Matthew Schmidt, 'Dunedin – a City Built on Reclamation'.
  • Jane McCabe, 'A Pivotal Year: Land Alienation and Entitlement in Taieri and Hokianga'.                

Intellectual Networks:

  • Peter Clayworth, Sketchy Histories: What were the 1860s Pakeha views of Maori migration to New Zealand.
  • John O’Leary, Hand-axes, saurian and kobongs: Governor Grey’s London year.
  • Kate Hannah, Correspondence, Colenso, and cultural shifts: Visualising New Zealand in 1869.
  • Helene Connor, Reflections on the letters of Geraldine Ensor Jewsbury (1812–80) to Walter Durrant Mantell (1820–95) with a focus on 1869.

Dunedin People, Places and Institutions:

  • Lyall Hanton, Joseph Mellor: the man who described the Periodic Table in 16 million words Tom Barker and John Isdale, Thames School of Mines.
  • Susan Irvine and Sarah Gallagher, Blowing Up Boundaries.
  • Rosi Crane Beyond Albums and Paintbrushes: Women and the Otago Museum, 1869-1936.

Reformers and Campaigners:

  • Anna Clark, 'Josephine Butler’s Women’s Work and Women’s Culture (1869): The paradoxes of individualism in Britain and New Zealand'.
  • Chieko Ichikawa, 'Women’s Writing on Sex: Rhetoric and Gender in the Social Purity Movement'.
  • Jane Tolerton, 'Otago’s Three Women’s Suffrage Movements: 1869-1893'.
  • Joanne Wilkes, 'Middlemarch and Reform: Looking Back from 1869'.  

11:00am - 11: 30am               Morning Tea

Tea, coffee, water, crumpets with cream and baked custard pots with raspberry jelly.

11.30am - 12.30pm       Keynote Address: Tilly Boleyn, 'Breaking the Rules, Transforming the Future'

St David Theatre Lecture

Scientific and cultural institutions worldwide have traditionally focused on knowledge creation and production. But what then? How do you engage the 'general public' with all your excellent knowledge? And how do you share that knowledge to create a scientifically literate society ready to tackle the world's biggest challenges?

This paper explores the evolution of approaches to engaging people with science and culture. Case studies, including cabinets of curiosities, World Fairs, science centres, museums, and the Science Gallery approach, illustrate some of the complexities at play when we invite people into our hallowed halls to see ‘the thing’. Have we, as a sector, become better at engagement over the last 150 years? What do we all mean by engagement anyway?

Fear not, Science Gallery Melbourne (SGM) is opening in 2020 with the aim of blurring the boundaries between science, art, design, technology, maths, and engineering. We’ve flipped engagement on its head, and instead embed our target audience, young people aged 15-25, into every aspect of our approach: idea generation, exhibition planning, work selection, promotion, and in-gallery engagement. This presentation takes audience members through what happens when you connect and involve young people in the creation of a new gallery…the agony and ecstasy of curating with young people, for young people.

This paper challenges the traditional narrative about who’s opinion matters, how to engage young people in important issues and what makes a transformational experience. Prepare for feathers to be ruffled.

OUSA Book Launch: 'Audeamus! We Dare!'

Sat 28 September 5.30pm - 6.30pm

University of Otago Staff Club, Leith Walk

Celebrate the launch of Philippa Keaney’s book with Professor Mark Henaghan.

RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





The Bluestone Award is presented every two years at the Dunedin Heritage Festival to acknowledge an outstanding contribution to the preservation and appreciation of Dunedin’s heritage.

Come and celebrate our Town and Gown Heritage Hero!

Sponsored by the Dunedin City Council.

University of Otago Geology Museum open to the public

Saturday 28 September, 2pm - 4pm

Quad 4 (Behind the Clocktower Building)

The Geology Museum contains large and scientifically important collections of rocks, minerals and fossils - the largest such collection in the South Island.

Recommended for children 11 years and older. No need to register.

Heritage Bytes Presented by the Southern Heritage Trust

Saturday 28 September 3.00 - 4.30pm

Quad 4 Lecture Theatre - Geology Dept   FREE

Find out why this rapid-fire image and storytelling event has become a global phenomenon Presenters have just 20 seconds to speak to each of their own 20 images. Come and experience an exciting line up of impassioned speakers.


Heritage Films Screening presented by the Film Heritage Trust

Sun 29 September: 5.00pm - 6.30pm

Quad 4 - Geology Dept (Behind Clocktower Building)


The chemical compound used in celluloid film dates back to its invention and patenting in 1869 by John W. Hyatt.

Sit back for a nostalgic glimpse at Dunedin in bygone years.

Archaeological Programme Open Day

Sunday 29 September 1.00pm - 3.00pm                               

Ground Floor Lab, Richardson Building


Archaeology is the study of the material evidence of the human past. This evidence can include:

  • Monumental structures like the ceremonial statues and platforms of Easter Island
  • Smaller portable artefacts such as pots and stone tools
  • The buried foundations of structures and
  • The remains of animals and plants used by ancient peoples

This research can contribute significantly to our knowledge of human origins, and the variety of societies and environments in the past.

The University of Otago Archaeology labs provides specialist services for post-excavation analysis including zooarchaeological analysis, artifact analysis, and collections management. they are designed for the efficient throughput of archaeological remains from initial processing to detailed post-excavation analysis. 

Come and explore the art and science of archaeology and learn about researchers’ recent Dental School excavations and various other fieldwork projects.

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