University rolls down, Harlene not the only problem….

cat called harlene [] 1

Due to an observable fall in student numbers, we have claimed if not predictably on other threads that there is PANIC !!!! at the University of Otago.

We’ve set to encouraging “our people” to attend other universities; while University of Otago continues to generate and support drunken disorder and lawlessness in our public domain —by allowing wayward noisy destructive gatherings (euphemistically known as parties!) in the tertiary campus area, particularly at the likes of Hyde and Castle Streets. These combine the usual assortment of assaults, vandalism, fires, hospitalisations and arrests, with undue waste of personnel, money and resources by emergency services, city council and university —impacting taxpayers and ratepayers. This so-called support from University of Otago and OUSA for youthful hijinks (civil unrest and criminality) comes as “ambulance at bottom of cliff”.

Funny we should say “ambulance” —perhaps it’s better to use “rapid response vehicle with broken windscreen”, Harlene?

Although you prefer “paving” and “village square”, or whisper “quality”.
How about ‘Dark Disgrace’ ?

█ QUESTION: Is University of Otago using an open tendering system for construction projects? YES/NO
If not why not, contact head of

### ODT Online Thu, 2 Apr 2015
Editorial: Jolting any university complacency
OPINION Whatever the spin from the University of Otago, the sudden drop in first-year domestic student numbers is a shock. The fall of 350 full-time equivalents (Efts) equates to nearly 10% over last year. It reverses the previous year’s first-year domestic increase of 119 (3.2%). […] Overall, the roll decline compared with March last year is 469 to 17,172, against a budgeted prediction of an increase of towards 200. Vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne might say projected shortfall in income is less than 1% of the total budget. But the university is a huge organisation and 1% represents about $6 million.
Read more



### ODT Online Wed, 1 Apr 2015
Luring the best and brightest
By Harlene Hayne – Vice-chancellor, University of Otago
OPINION It is easy to forget that neither constant growth nor sheer size define the world’s great universities. Indeed, if anything, the opposite is true. Among those that consistently make the top 10 in the prominent international rankings, the vast majority – including Yale, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Cambridge, MIT, Chicago and Caltech – have a student roll either similar to or smaller than Otago’s.
Read more

Bottom of cliff - altered image [orig by Christopher Slane 2.2.08 via] 1

Related Posts and Comments:
28.3.15 University of Otago landscaping
22.3.15 University of Otago: More national and global publicity #HydeStreet
10.3.15 *Surprise!* Farry’s f.u.b.a.r. Stadium not attracting first year Efts
18.2.15 University of Otago: Toga Party 2015 #video
16.2.15 University of Otago can’t beat broadcast news and social media #image
18.12.14 University of Otago —um Harlene, what you sellin’ now, girl?
12.8.14 Cameras in North Dunedin
1.8.14 University Partyville, North Dunedin: Put the cameras in ~!!
16.7.14 Stadium: Out of the mouths of uni babes…. #DVML
30.4.14 Octagon mud
22.3.14 Dunedin North care less filthy slum
19.3.14 Dunedin North drunks
15.2.14 University of Otago: Starter questions for Harlene
10.2.14 University of Otago major sponsor for Highlanders
9.1.14 Facadism: … University of Otago warps Castle Street
19.8.13 Cull on senility (firing up graduates)
24.7.13 University: Leith flood protection scheme and landscaping
31.5.13 University of Otago development plans
25.3.13 UoO: NEGATIVE PRESS: Weekly disorder in Dunedin campus area
20.2.12 University of Otago student orientation
17.2.12 Salvation Army: The Growing Divide
17.12.11 Stadium + Cull love = University of Otago + OUSA party
23.11.11 Judge Oke Blaikie finally said it
9.11.11 DCC has PR problem

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images (tweaked by whatifdunedin): – Cat (called Harlene); – Bottom of cliff [original by Christopher Slane 2.2.08]


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Economics, Highlanders, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, University of Otago, Urban design

81 responses to “University rolls down, Harlene not the only problem….

  1. Elizabeth

    SECOND QUESTION: Has the Property Services division at University of Otago been inviting lone bids only? YES/NO
    If so, contact head of

  2. Elizabeth

    “If you’re a student in Dunedin, rent now gobbles up 70% of your income. Only a few years ago, that was a third, with some left over at the end of the week. Such sharp rent rises mean less money for basics like food and power.” — Rory McCourt, NZUSA

    ### ODT Online Fri, 3 Apr 2015
    More flats than students
    By Dan Hutchinson and Jonathan Chilton-Towle
    Competition in the student rental market is heating up with more than 100 properties still available in traditional student areas. University of Otago figures released on Tuesday show student numbers are down by 469 on the same time last year, while popular rental websites show about 150 properties for rent in the city centre, North Dunedin and Northeast Valley.
    Read more

  3. Peter

    I notice Bayley’s Real Estate in the latest property press has a very large grouping of new listings in NEV around the Northumberland St/ Crown St/ Selwyn Sts area. I guess it might be a major landlord dumping his portfolio. Could be just moving on to something else or done with the view of getting out quick with a less vigorous student market. Could be a good opportunity for first home owners.

  4. Elizabeth

    There were just under 109,500 overseas-based people with student debt at the end of June last year, and they were a collective $863.3 million behind in their repayments, with over 70,000 of them not meeting their repayment obligations.

    ### Last updated 05:00, April 5 2015
    It’s time to break student debt taboo
    By Rob Stock
    The country’s only specialist adviser on going bankrupt to clear student debt says it’s time to talk more about the growing impact it’s having on people’s lives. “I think we do need to talk more about it. It is almost like a taboo subject but it has a tremendous impact on people’s lives,” says Kristina Andersen from Auckland Tax Hub Limited.
    She started working on student debts because they were popping up increasingly frequently when dealing with clients’ tax issues, she says, and for some bankruptcy was the only realistic option.
    Too many people headed abroad to work and paid little heed to their student debts, many assuming they would be told if they needed to make repayments.

    But an Inland Revenue Department crackdown, and the compounding effects of interest swelling balances owed has produced a wave of bankruptcies, and student debt now seems to play a part in around one in ten bankruptcies where it is the debtor who asks to go bust.

    Interest on student debt for borrowers outside New Zealand dropped from 5.5 per cent to 5.3 per cent on 1 April, and late payment interest moved dropped from 9.5 per cent to 9.3 per cent, but they are still rates at which debts compound fast.
    Read more

  5. Calvin Oaten

    Student debt currently at $14.25 billion! The interesting thing of course is that the government borrows offshore to fund that debt. And of course it also shows up in the accounts as an asset! Can anyone see light at the end of that tunnel other than a “blinding flash”?

  6. Elizabeth

    Has Otago fallen off the pace from its earlier leading position?

    ### ODT Online Wed, 15 Apr 2015
    Enrolment decline a timely alert
    By Warwick Johnson
    OPINION In international ratings, where wider sets of criteria are used, Otago continues to be one of two New Zealand universities (the other is Auckland) that can claim an international reputation, although it should be of concern that in the latest round of the most sophisticated set of performance rankings, those developed annually by the British publication Times Higher Education, New Zealand universities did not fare as well as they have in the past.
    Read more

    ● Warwick Johnson is a former director of external relations at the University of Otago.

  7. Elizabeth

    Many first year overseas students aren’t fitting in well at the City Rise – their lack of awareness of what it takes to be good neighbours, and their lack of knowledge about tenancy agreements and how to suss out cowboy landlords wanting cash rents and packing more people than they should into “habitable rooms”, is a problem for Dunedin City. The cumulative effects aren’t being handled properly by the University of Otago in cooperation with other authorities including DCC. Mayhem by ‘çampus spread’ – the university itself, on its ivy-unconcerned comfortable salaries, looking up its own backside, is a lousy host.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 23 Apr 2015
    Increase in new overseas students
    By Carla Green
    There has been an “encouraging” increase in first-year international student numbers at the University of Otago, but it continues to lag behind other universities in attracting overseas students.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      A semi-retired builder friend did quite a lot of work over several years for one “overseas born” landlord. Rooms were subdivided, to the point where there was no adequate means of escaping a fire other than running through all the rest of the house. His target market was Asian students, reckoning that since back home they were used to tiny rooms and living close together, half a laundry would be “loooksury!” Permits? Sudden outbreak of “no understanding English”.
      My friend had a good relationship with him, he was a likeable rogue apparently, and unwilling to get anyone other than my friend to do his work for him. This meant there was scope for a certain amount of pressure to avoid the worst aspects of what he wanted done, my friend used to say “No, I won’t do that, it’s not safe” or make sure a window could be opened. Not much help, but as he said there were plenty of builders who would do whatever he asked without demur, for folding money. A difficult position to be in. Could have dobbed him in, but that’s totally against many people’s culture.

  8. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 29 Apr 2015
    Otago Uni Dental School among world’s best
    Otago University’s Dental School has been recognised as being among the top 10 in the world. The QS World University Rankings by Subject have been released and Otago University was the only New Zealand university to have a subject feature in the top 10 with its dentistry subject ranking 8th in the world. NZME
    Read more

    ● More in tomorrow’s ODT, UoO leading Harvard, um well yeah hmmm….
    While our DentSchool lounges in a totally unsuitable building.

    ….[The] facelift and construction of a new clinical building next year – previously estimated to cost “well over $100 million” – would increase the number of places available at the school and the ranking would make filling … places easier.

    • Elizabeth

      Goodness, ODT forgot the rest of the news…..

      The report ranks the University of Auckland top in New Zealand for 29 out of 37 subjects.

      ### NZ Herald Online 5:00 AM Thursday Apr 30, 2015
      Auckland tops in the study stakes
      City university best place in New Zealand in long list of subjects, while AUT ranks highly for Art and Design.
      By Kirsty Johnston – Education reporter
      World university rankings show Auckland is the best place to study in New Zealand if you want to be an accountant, lawyer, geographer, teacher, architect or a chemist – among a long list of subjects. The report rankings, published by British company Quacquarelli Symonds, ranks the University of Auckland top in New Zealand for 29 out of 37 subjects, with 13 subjects in the top 50 in the world. It gained the largest number of subjects listed in the top-400 subject rankings. Otago University also had a win with its dentistry course named 8th in the world, the first time a New Zealand school has made the top 10.
      Read more

      Proud to be an alumna of the University of Auckland !!!

  9. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 3 May 2015
    Trying to keep the noise down
    By Carla Green
    In the past year, Dunedin’s noise control team dealt with 3625 complaints and seized almost 200 speakers and stereos. Reporter Carla Green followed after-hours noise control officers around on a Saturday night to see how they function. […] Figures provided to the Otago Daily Times by the DCC show that of the 3625 noise complaints the council received in the past 12 months, 1086 were in North Dunedin.
    Read more

  10. Elizabeth

    SOME FURTHER WHITEWASH BS to counter bad press from the Sunday TVNZ show on 10 May. Gilding a rotten lily, more like.

    The report reflected “what we mean to our home city, in an economic sense” as well as “the economic importance of having a really strong university in the city” to Dunedin. –University of Otago

    Hohoho – minus the cost to Dunedin’s tax-funded emergency services, the cost of continual damage to private property and for humiliation and distress caused to local citizens and ratepayers putting up with the spread of the tertiary campus into City Rise – meaning, the as yet unquantified COST of unmitigated cumulative effects of the Student Zone in planning and economic terms not controlled by Dunedin City Council as a cost on the University of Otago.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 19 May 2015
    $829 million boost to city
    By Carla Green
    The University of Otago contributed $829 million to the local economy last year, a yearly report evaluating its economic impact has found. University director of planning and funding David Thomson, whose office put the report together, said a ”really rough estimate” would put the impact at about 15% of Dunedin’s GDP.
    Read more

    • JimmyJones

      If only we could spend that magic money on real things, like badly needed water and sewerage pipe renewals. And what about a big rates reduction so that the pensioners can once again afford to turn on the heater.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Magic with numbers. First, it’s impossible to have any certainty about how much students spend – is always a guess. And second, any profits made do not go equally into local ratepayers’ pockets. To assume, first, that something is good (with no associated negatives) for the ‘local economy’ (the term being an abstraction) and then, second, to assume that what is good for the local economy is good for every single person living here in Dunedin is just indulging in a kind of economic fantasy. Some people may be making a profit but the way economies generally work is that one person’s extreme profit is usually someone’s else’s extreme rip off. For example, the student lifestyle that Otago University, the DCC and the ODT sell, when riotous, as it so often is, is many local residents’ loss. Very illuminating to compare the discussion here on this site with the way Otago University is presented (usually as a rose without a thorn) by the ODT.
      My daughter said to me over five years ago that it was cheaper overall to go to Victoria Uni in Wellington. And not have to live in a cold student hovel. Don’t think Otago will get its general NZ undergraduate niche back. May be is no longer offering anything special which out-of-town NZ school leavers want enough to leave home for, except perhaps some specialist subjects like health sciences and elite sport. Maybe Otago has a future in the ‘university of the third age’ and maybe with subjects like philosophy theology and religious studies, and other subjects which people might study NOT for employment credentials but purely because of their intrinsic interest. Could do this internationally maybe.

  11. Elizabeth

    Comment at ODT Online:

    When under attack …
    Submitted by overit on Tue, 19/05/2015 – 6:42pm.

    Open up the door to the spin doctors.

    While there is no doubt that the University of Otago is a significant contributor to the Dunedin economy, it has made an art form of trotting fiscal good news eveytime the negative impacts of its presence is raised.

    Could the ODT take little time to fully investigate some of the claims? I thought the DCC had produced a report that showed aged care was a bigger economic contributor for Dunedin?

  12. helenback

    Figures provided to the Otago Daily Times by the DCC show that of the 3625 noise complaints the council received in the past 12 months, 1086 were in North Dunedin. So this would back up what Jeff and Carol were saying then in the TVNZ Sunday ‘Party Central’ programme. The lions share, that is 70% of the callouts were outside of the traditional North Dunedin party scene. So why then are the DCC not listening to complaints and ignoring their own statistics by concentrating only on these issues in North Dunedin – where most of that $200,000,000 University spend is intended for no doubt?

    Wonder what they’ve got planned? A state of the art vomitorium perhaps or a high-rise detox centre maybe? How about a purpose built Fun Park with no toilet facilities, bottles to smash, cars to jump on, sponsored trash-a-thon, yelling competitions, walls to shoulder barge and a fresh couch-burning every night? Think of the colour and the vibrancy it would bring to this town!

    Time to face up to the fact Dunedinites – there’s no money in us whiney old ratepayers – it’s ALL about the students. We’ve clearly been sold out to the booze barons!

  13. helenback

    Forgot to mention that not all of those callouts would have been out of control student parties – but how many of them are influenced by the sanctioning of the Hyde St fiasco? Would be interesting to see if there’s an increase in wanton destruction of flats around the city and police callouts for property destruction, threatening and other anti-social behaviour.

  14. Elizabeth

    The only sector in Otago that showed growth last year was the ”institutes of technology and polytechnics” sector.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 10 Jul 2015
    Fall in international student numbers in Otago
    By Carla Green
    International student numbers declined by 2% overall in Otago last year, even as numbers countrywide climbed 13%. The decline in Otago represented a loss of 129 international students, including a drop of 89 at primary and secondary schools, a recent Education New Zealand report showed.
    Read more

    @@@@ Phil Ker rules over Harls.

  15. Elizabeth

    Predicted shortfall of $5.66 million for the full year was “not significant overall”, represents 1.8% of the university’s total income to date.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 24 Jul 2015
    Lower efts numbers cost uni $2.806m
    By Carla Green
    A shortfall in student numbers has ushered in a period of moderate budgetary belt-tightening for the second year in a row at the University of Otago. In March, the university reported its equivalent full-time student (efts) numbers were down 2.7% (469 efts) on March 2014 numbers, with 17,172 efts total.
    Read more

    Related Post and Comments:
    16.2.15 University of Otago can’t beat broadcast news and social media #image

  16. Elizabeth

    Get rid of Harlene and her ‘super-fund’ salary, she’s ‘simply not worth it.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 12 Sep 2015
    Staff review at university
    By Carla Green
    An unprecedented review of more than 2000 general staff at the University of Otago has sparked “huge concern” among its employees, the Tertiary Education Union says. […] University human resources director Kevin Seales said vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne announced to staff last week support services across the university would be reviewed.
    Read more

  17. Elizabeth

    ### Sun, 27 Sep 2015
    RNZ National – Sunday with Wallace Chapman
    Prof Harlene Hayne – Celebrating Academic Success (Link)
    9:40 AM. Does the tall poppy syndrome really exist? Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice Chancellor of Otago University, believes it does and says it’s time we started celebrating our academic successes in the same way we celebrate our sporting ones.
    Audio | Downloads: Ogg MP3 (duration 16′ :34″)

  18. Calvin Oaten

    As the saying goes, those that believe they are special, usually are simple folk who believe what it is they’ve got to believe when they’ve got to believe it. If you know what I mean. As far as shrinking rolls go, “it’s demographics stupid”, and that requires ‘sod all’ intellect to comprehend.

  19. Elizabeth

    Now that [student numbers] were trending down, there needed to be “a corresponding decrease in general staff FTEs”. –Kevin Seales, HR director

    ### ODT Online Tue, 27 Oct 2015
    Staff cuts looming at varsity
    By Carla Green
    Wide-reaching staff cuts at the University of Otago will probably be announced by early 2017, after a review of all its general staff. The university started telling its 2000-plus general staff members about the proposed cutbacks last month.
    Read more

  20. Anonymous

    Worldwide, the potential number of students has increased. It is only the potential number who want to come to study here that has dropped. What’s the opposite of “a rising tide lifts all boats”?

    • Elizabeth

      Quick! Build a new Dental School. Oh wait.

    • Gurglars

      Don’t tell me mous you’re a closet climate change denier!

      Falling tides! Wash your mouth out please.

      I really like the DCC logicians, pure genius.
      Building a cycleway along a road they believe will be washed away in their view in a heartbeat, whilst ignoring the potential only access to Tairoa Head and all the eastern harbourside suburbs if they are correct.

      Build a new highcliff road all the way to the Albatross colony is the only sensible solution for climate change aspirants. So why do Jinty, Cull, Hawkins et al continue to promote the cycleways to the heads along Portobello road?

      Is the next wave of development submarine lanes?

      Let’s replace Spokes with U-Boats.

  21. Elizabeth


    Comment at ODT Online

    Failed marketing
    Submitted by Te Jackle on Tue, 27/10/2015 – 7:27pm.

    Maybe the drop in student numbers is a direct result of the highly contentious recent marketing ploy, ooops sponsorship deal with the local rugby team. Didn’t we question that at the time? Certainly appears to have worked…..not!

  22. Elizabeth

    University of Otago International Office found extremely wanting, Harlene.

    Sylvia Frain went for months without coverage for her medical condition when her health insurance company cut off payment for her treatment.

    ### ODT Online Sun, 15 Nov 2015
    Overseas student’s health care struggle
    By Carla Green
    The University of Otago is pouring money and resources into attracting international students, but is it taking care of students once they get here? Carla Green reports on one student’s nightmare experience with a health insurance bureaucracy.
    Read more

  23. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Fri, 27 Nov 2015
    Hayne leads city in state sector pay
    By Vaughan Elder
    The incomes of Dunedin’s highest-paid state sector employees have been laid bare once again, with two earning more than $500,000 a year. […]Details of who got paid what in the year to June 30 and who got pay rises were published yesterday in the annual the State Services Commission pay report.
    Read more

    █ University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne – total remuneration band increases by $20,000, for second year running, $560,000-$569,999.

    █ Southern District Health Board chief executive Carole Heatly –
    remuneration band same as previous year, $500,000-$509,999.

    >> PIGS IN MUD <<

  24. E. Palmer

    OMG! If this wasn’t so cringeworthy, it would be funny.

    People, I think we’ve found the main reason why the Otago University roles are plummeting. This years Christmas message from HRH Harls…

    {Link replaced to show video. -Eds}

  25. Elizabeth

    [screenshot today]
    UoO Facebook Harlene Hayne xmas message + video 14.12.15

  26. Elizabeth

    Rrrrr……….. “Having nicer properties also allowed landlords to charge more rent, so it was a win-win.” More rent for shite (student accommodation grants and loans), for the most part payable by the New Zealand taxpayer direct to the pockets of bloody Rent Sharks at #DUD

    New Zealand PROPERTY SPECULATION runs apace.

    ### ODT Online Tue, 29 Dec 2015
    Making the most of student quarter reprieve
    By Vaughan Elder + Photos by Christine O’Connor
    Dunedin landlords are taking advantage of the exodus of students by getting some work done on their flats. […] The streets in the student quarter were almost deserted yesterday, with most students long gone, but tradesmen were busy fixing up flats and a few tenants were clearing out houses before their leases end on January 31.
    Read more

  27. Elizabeth

    Campus Spread has Negative Knock-on Effects for Heritage Property Care and Maintenance (City Rise). Not forgetting the AntiSocial Hell they inflict —Students looking further afield for flats than in previous years.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 13 Feb 2016
    Students getting more choice
    By Carla Green
    After six years of declining student numbers at the University of Otago, it is a renter’s market in the most popular student streets of North Dunedin. […] Over the past five years, university student numbers have been on a steady downturn – dropping 1510 (or 7.7%) equivalent full-time students (Efts) in six years, from 19,661 Efts in 2010 to a projected 18,156 Efts for 2016.
    Read more

    █ The university had organised an event on February 23 – called ‘‘Flat Chat” – to ‘‘help match returning students with good flatting accommodation”.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Fewer students… yet when Labour’s plan for 3 years of free tertiary education was announced there was an outcry of how much extra money would have to go to universities to cope with all these extra students. Uh?

    If the call had been “more money for polytechs, for trades courses” I’d have said, yes, probably…….

  29. Anonymous

    It’s “moving-in weekend”. The number of flats still under renovation or “to let” is quite staggering, in the student quarter.

  30. Calvin Oaten

    Fewer students….the demographics have been spelling out this conundrum for a couple of decades now. You’d think the ivy halls of academia would have prepared for this. What? Me put my tenure at risk? Don’t be daft, I can’t go outside and compete, better to live here in a bubble. I know that answer, and it hit me like a bomb! MORE SEX and less of the birth control. Too late he cried, it should have been a couple of decades ago, now we just have to go along with it, as when the removal of stringent entrance criteria (university entrance exams and scholarships) was scrubbed we expanded to meet the hordes of out of place aspirants. It was the neo-liberals who would describe it as a market where quantity counts above quality.
    Right on! I say.

    • Elizabeth

      Side note to declining student numbers: Thank god for the safety of birth control for those of us who didn’t want to become baby machines and or domestic slave labour in polite society!

  31. Callum

    I remember reading something that Otago Uni isn’t that popular compared to previous years. Whenever I went past North Dunedin Granddad would tell me that a lot those houses around his time used to be well kept. I could have gone to Otago but I didn’t get in. I just wonder what is stopping people from enrolling at Otago or why people aren’t enrolling down there. I wish Dunedin wasn’t just an export city.

    • Callum

      When mentioning that students are looking further afield, do they mean that they’re looking in other areas of Dunedin rather than North Dunedin?

      • Elizabeth

        Callum, that’s what they mean. Lots of the students have cars so they can be picky about rentals, looking for better deals in other parts of town. In the last few years we’ve had the rough element (pop-up party students) move into City Rise (the residential area ‘beneath’ the Town Belt) with bad results in the Hyde St mode…. – luckily, students don’t all come in one flavour, some are living in West Harbour, Macandrew Bay, South Dunedin, Highgate Roslyn, Opoho, etc. If you hate cold broken down hovels that used to be typical in the immediate campus area now you have other options depending on your budget and or ability to withstand private debt. Your grandfather is correct – North Dunedin was once a mixed neighbourhood of families, workers and professionals, retirees, university staff and students…. the horrid University of Otago has changed all that “community” and the city council has been utterly remiss in allowing ghettoisation of student accommodation. It’s really a total disaster that planners pretend hasn’t happened. Cashcow landlords – leveraged by the banks in cyclical fashion – have eroded attractive streets and neighbourhoods, decade on decade.

        Much of the grace has gone.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          “North Dunedin was once a mixed neighbourhood of families, workers and professionals, retirees, university staff and students” and it was great, it was being anchored in real life when we were young almost grown-ups, still silly yet at the same time having to moderate our obnoxious self-absorbed adolescent impulses. Being among people of other ages and occupations gave us a sense of movement through time, from school leavers to graduation to away and into tour careers. Being among hardly any people except students straight from school seems to keep them stuck much longer in “junior” mode, peer groups being unwilling to let any member grow out of late adolescence until the whole group is willing to shuffle towards maturity.

        • Calvin Oaten

          One has to remember that a recent as 1961 the student roll all counted was less than 5,000. Student hostels were strictly segregated and boys wore harris tweed jackets and brown brogue shoes. Top incidents was centered around May Capping Time with ‘procesh’ in main st. Capping concert and copious amounts if beer. All over in a week and back to norm.
          I’m not saying that’s what it should be, but no doubt that the students of those days were there for the degree they aspired to, whilst it’s simply a numbers game now as the business model dictates. It now callously puts individuals into horrendous debt on a users pay model also designed to conceal unemployment figure for the young.
          This model applies to all tertiary education institutions across the country. Quite cynical really.

        • Elizabeth

          By the time I entered Otago as an Architecture Intermediate student (BSc/BA) in 1978-79, mixed flatting (for second years and older) was on the rise and still not accepted by straight-laced parents – so a whole lot of sneaky stuff went on, and this still before student undergraduate numbers took off as an income stream inviting ‘rubbish’ to enrol in very loose papers and degrees with no professional substance or research depth (not including medicine, dentistry, surveying or law).

          And worse (degenerately), it was still a place haunted by a certain coterie of academic men and perpetual male students wearing long hair and flowing beards, khaki shorts and roman sandals – which read like a freakshow to new encumbents and their families of more contemporary outlook.

          When I returned from Auckland ten years later to take some lectures and design classes, there were senior academics in the Burns Building (now Arts Building) who had not upgraded their lecture content from ten years before. Interesting discussions were had at our Staff Women’s Caucus committee. It was then I knew Otago was managerially and academically BRAIN DEAD – no expectation was placed on academic staff in certain departments to stay current within their international or even national fields be it for teaching, or research (what was that???). Seriously below par. But at about that time, early to mid 1990s, the push truly began at Otago to raise the number and diversity of (non professional) undergraduate and postgraduate (non-event) papers to attract enrolment of school leavers in far greater numbers – the rot set in, tied to the inception of student loans in 1992.

          Which is a bad and personally biased brief summary, but it mainly concurs with Calvin’s reading of the situation.

          Last night – forgive me – on Top Chef Masters (USA), the grand winner “Douglas” offered the first sentence of the following quotation, as what he thinks of when the stress is on – it’s very well known:

          What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
          –Thomas Paine, The American Crisis

          People can google that for its context, see pamphlets distributed during the American Revolution.

          All I can say is that the University of Otago became too cheap in what it offered and simultaneously too expensive in not providing quality of teaching and research in amongst Central Government meddlings with Tertiary Education finance.

          Compounded by Dunedin’s continual failure to diversify in business to the ‘degree’ needed to make up for the University of Otago facing increasingly stiff competition here and overseas – it’s not enough just to provide more halls of residence (colleges)…. wise youth (not the party blondes from Auckland with personal expense accounts) will be staying home longer and desperately sourcing training or tertiary education closer to home for the avoidance of mushrooming their student debt.

          And look how darn crusty the University Council is. My god. Leadership??? It’s out of the dark ages – driven by shoulder-tapped bean counters with not much more than BComs, from Otago. Our festering ivy.

        • Callum

          I think it must be good for students to spread out in other areas as it can create balance in North Dunedin rather than a neighbourhood filled with student grime.

          I go to UC and the houses in Ilam or even Fendalton are well kept and less decrepit and there aren’t any hooligan fueled alcohol street parties. It’s really beyond me why Otago Uni has to market itself as a alcohol party fueled university of NZ. It has totally made the area look like scum. It’s a shame that the top university staff and the dcc aren’t doing much about it in my opinion.

          I remember watching an episode on Sunday and I just loved how the concerned neighbours mentioned that they wouldn’t encourage their children to enrol at Otago. The thing that annoyed me is that the OUSA were demanding an apology from the Sunday program because of the way their bad behavior was portrayed. I just think it shows that the students do need to be aware of how their behaviour affects neighbours and locals.

    • Elizabeth

      True, Callum. Otago not as popular due in part to what the Vice Chancellor has allowed to be marketed – the alcohol-fueled, riotous party town image doesn’t sit well with many potential students and their parents.

  32. Calvin Oaten

    Hold on Russell, Malcolm said that if the Stadium was built it would result in an additional 500 students. So, by the university sponsoring the Highlanders that would have to be good for another 500 surely. You just have to have faith. That’s what the $560Kpa vice chancellor obviously believes.

  33. jeff dickie

    Callum, you mention the Sunday program. I appeared on that as a concerned neighbour and made the very measured comment that the behaviour of a “very small minority gave the others a bad name”. Harlene Hayne and OUSA’s Paul Hunt were outraged in their ODT responses. They claimed the program made out all students behaved badly. This was an extraordinary response and says more about them and the culture of entitlement to behave badly, than it does about the TV item. The images in that program were real, nothing was photoshopped! It has suited Otago University to market itself as party central and indeed their own video promotions [now pulled] did just that. Oddly, I received threatening phone calls and a few letters, all anonymous.
    It was only when exposed to national scrutiny with the follow up effects of potential students questioning Otago University marketing boffins about the program, particularly in Auckland schools which make up 65% of the new intake, did the reality of party versus academic hit home. Add to this the stupidity of Otago University directly sponsoring a professional rugby team. Why not stock car racing or professional boxing? As I’ve said before Otago, is becoming NZ’s first MacUniversity. There’s also a puzzle in why “vice” Chancellor Harlene Hayne has flip flopped from her 2012 DCC submission proposing extending the existing campus alcohol ban to the entire city? Who’s she been speaking to? Maybe there’s a link with the rugby sponsorship deal which is also linked to Speight’s Brewery?
    It is both ironic and sad that OUSA’s Mr Hunt had to bale out a fellow executive member, who while drunk assaulted a restauranteur and staff, also stealing a bottle of wine. This was just weeks after the Sunday program which pointed to alcohol being a problem. a notion rejected by Mr Hunt.
    Finally, I understand DVML staff had to close down early an end of year 2015 Pharmacy function at the railway station due to unruly drunken behaviour.
    The real problem and failure to find a solution so far stems from denial, and more importantly a lack of leadership from Otago University and the DCC and mayor. The efforts so far have been wimpy and spineless. Apart from the social cost there is a massive long term health cost.

  34. Elizabeth

    Doh, a conscience or vote catching in the spreading campus area.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 15 Feb 2016
    Cull points finger at private landlords
    By Eileen Goodwin
    Landlords who are “determined to squeeze every cent” out of their rental properties are to blame for Dunedin’s poor-quality rentals, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says. Mr Cull said “professional landlords” mostly provided decent homes, but those with only one rental – perhaps a retirement investment – were letting properties deteriorate.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      And the finger gets pointed straight back at Cull by photonz –

      So Dave “the drains weren’t blocked, honest they weren’t” Cull, complains about a lack of maintenance.
      Every time that it’s rained hard since the flooding, there is a significant number of blocked drains around the city….
      ….. the council has still not maintained the drains.

      Whole comment –

      • Elizabeth

        Spectacularly pointed. Bravo (again), photonz.

        TheBeatlesVEVO Published on Dec 14, 2015
        The Beatles – Don’t Let Me Down
        Performed on the roof of Apple in Savile Row. From The Beatles 1 Video Collection out now.
        Written by John as an expression of his love for Yoko Ono, the song is heartfelt and passionate. As John told Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, “When it gets down to it, when you’re drowning, you don’t say, ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.”

        • ab

          Absolutely, and only an English, major, really knows that the poem ‘Not Waving, Drowning’, is by Stevie Smith, an Englishwoman.

  35. Elizabeth

    [Sharon] van Turnhout praised the university’s group operating surplus of $32.662million against a budget of $24.698million as a “very positive result”.

    Tue, 29 Mar 2016
    ODT: Varsity roll down on last year
    [University of Otago] Chief financial officer Sharon van Turnhout confirmed the previously forecast 2.2% drop in student numbers to 18,416 equivalent full time students (Efts) last year from 18,830 in 2014 in a report tabled at the latest university council meeting. […] Overall, domestic enrolments decreased by 379 Efts (2.2%). A small increase in returning student numbers, including postgraduate growth, was not enough to make up for a “sharp” decline of 9.8% in first-year enrolments. […] Full-fee international enrolments declined by 35 Efts (2.5%)….

  36. Calvin Oaten

    This decline in first-year enrolments has been clearly signposted for years. It ought not be a surprise to the academics if they had been watching the census outcomes over recent decades.The demographics point to a diminishing birth rate, not only in New Zealand but throughout the developed world. Japan faces a demographic disaster, as does Germany and much of Europe. Here in Dunedin we have seen the recent consolidation and closures of primary schools followed by the revelation that the secondary field is short of some 790 students to desks. That’s the equivalent of one college. Now the Universities are feeling the drop. If they didn’t see this coming and adjust their aspirations accordingly, would suggest that maybe they aren’t so smart at all. Navel gazing only takes it so far, then reality and belt tightening is the frightening prospect. The vice chancellor’s salary would be a good starting point.

  37. Elizabeth

    Hyped positivity hardly worth the ink.

    University budget, tabled last November, forecasted growth of just six efts for the full year.

    Wed, 13 Apr 2016
    ODT: Positive start to year — Hayne
    ….figures released at yesterday’s university council meeting show international full-fee enrolments are up 5.8% (65 equivalent full-time students), on the corresponding time last year, while first-year domestic enrolments are up 6.7% (235 efts) on the corresponding time last year. The increases contribute to a total enrolment rise of four efts, bringing the total efts at the university to 17,153.

  38. Elizabeth

    Wed, 27 Jul 2016
    ODT: Humanities cuts closer at University
    Compulsory redundancies may be required in the University of Otago division of humanities, an email from the division’s pro-vice-chancellor reveals. In the email sent to staff last Wednesday, and supplied to the Otago Daily Times, pro-vice-chancellor of humanities Prof Tony Ballantyne said “a number of staff from across the division initiate conversations about their future plans but that pattern has been uneven”.

    How did the university leadership in all conscience allow 37 humanities departments and centres to form. Ridiculous. I love humanities as much as sciences —but clearly somebody let in a low-grade infiltration of mushrooms in the race for undergrad EFTS. Where’s the broom ?

    • Peter

      Aside from the demographics, I would assume potential students, and their parents, would make decisions as to whether the University of Otago is a good, or better still, a prestigious university to go to.
      Also more would be aware that a mediocre BA, BSc or LLB is a waste of money and not a meal ticket. Plenty of tertiary educated low paid workers out there. If the talent is average such students are better advised to get another more useful qualification.
      Not that this will stop unis selling dreams to fill vacant seats. Universities are now a business and it is not up to taxpayers to plug the gaps.
      For years such courses have been useful in mopping up unemployment stats. A good standby for governments of all persuasions when times are tough.

      • Elizabeth

        Do many parents have anything to do with tertiary education choices….
        I think we need the University of Otago demographics before too many assumptions are thrown around.

        • Peter

          I think for freshers they often get parental advice even if the decision is ultimately up to them as it should be.
          My other comments were intended as possible assumptions. High costs are a major factor now.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          There’s also the suspicion that for some parents it’s worth paying to get their adolescent out of their hair. Out of the house, out of the home town, being messy and embarrassing way down south. By the time they’ve finished at OU they may have grown up, or at least been kicked into shape by other young people who have more clues about what’s OK and what isn’t.
          21st century remittance men. All sexes and gender identities included.

  39. Hype O'Thermia

    “How did the university leadership in all conscience allow 37 humanities departments and centres to form” – isn’t this catering to the market for low-rigour shallow stuff expressed in obscure jargon to disguise its banality? The new improved school “examination” system has encouraged the growth of easy-pass subjects so the stats (and self-esteem) look good, high quota of passes in Weetbix Box design 1980-2000 and social history of the kazoo. J. Knuckledragger and W. Mouthbreather can have a certificate, a diploma, a degree – show us the money and we’ll invent a course that’s within their capabilities.

    • ab

      Absolutely, and only an English, major, really knows that the poem ‘Not Waving, Drowning’, is by Stevie Smith, an Englishwoman.

  40. Elizabeth

    Wed, 3 Aug 2016

    University pro-vice chancellor of humanities Prof Tony Ballantyne said in an email most departments in the division would not face changes to staff numbers.

    ODT: Humanities division cuts focus revealed
    University of Otago humanities departments in the firing line for job losses include history and music, a leaked email to the division’s staff reveals. Other departments and programmes that will undergo “management of change” processes in the coming weeks are English and linguistics, anthropology and archaeology and languages and cultures.


    Thu, 4 Aug 2016
    Five humanities departments face cuts
    The University of Otago yesterday confirmed five humanities departments are likely to have staff cut by November – possibly totalling 15-20 people. University pro-vice chancellor of humanities Prof Tony Ballantyne said the departments to undergo a formal management of change process were anthropology and archaeology, English and linguistics, history (with probable cuts in art history), languages and cultures, and music.

  41. Hype O'Thermia

    Universities are turning away from places where minds are broadened and deepened, becoming qualification mills for professionals just as Polytechs turn out the tradespeople.
    It’s been happening for years now. Not so many people can afford to simply become better educated, better able to think analytically and synthesise new concepts using elements of understanding in disparate fields.
    John Key won’t be worried. He’s clever, he’s smart, and he’s one of the shallowest politicians I’ve ever seen – excepting of course our own dear retired doggie-bagger N. Collins whose depth was barely sufficient to register condensation.

  42. Elizabeth

    ███ News (informal) just the other day was that the university may remove up to 400 jobs, if correct then general staff ranks are in for severe pruning (indeed, as intimated by university poobahs last year).

    At Facebook:

    Phys Ed, huh.
    The DCC’s publicly funded Stadium hasn’t paid off in So Many Ways (ouch!), nor has (boondoggle) Dunedin’s Higher Performance Sport NZ Training Centre [ ].

  43. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Ah yes, “the university said on Thursday rumours 300 staff could be cut were unfounded” and Mandy Rice Davies’s ghostly whisper is chilly in my ear : “They would say that.”

  44. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  45. russandbev

    Anyone facing a prospect of losing a job must have our sympathy. What was revealing some time ago were the stats round the ratio of general staff to academic staff. If I recall correctly, the ratio at Otago was about 1.9 general staff for every member of the academic staff. That compared to other Unis in Australasia of more like 1.1. While there may be differences because of the types of study – for instance does Health Sciences need more support staff – it does seem a big difference.

    Historically there are plenty of examples where departments – under the leadership of an academic – decided to opt out of what seemed to be essentially core functions such as HR, accounting or computer services – to set up their own. That seemed at the time, and still does seem, stupid. I was aware of some departments that even went to outside companies to print off their own departmental stationery and binned the supplied University printery stationery.

    Duplication of services or staffing when unnecessary cannot be sustained but at the same time I think that duplication of academic work should also be weeded out. How many people are there employed as full-time academics who never teach or undertake all their “research” overseas? The recent example of the Chair of Neurosurgery seems to fit into that category. How much “research” is undertaken to simply get an article published in some obscure magazine never read by anyone other than to make sure it can go on a list of publications on a CV?

    I’m not sure why an academic needs to fulfill managerial positions either? I would have thought if a person was a brilliant teacher, a foremost and relevant researcher, then they should not end up as a Dean or Departmental Head. Why should not a brilliant administrator take up those roles? Probably heresy to suggest it, but if the Uni is being closely examined then that examination should be wider than just one thing.

  46. Rob Hamlin

    I think the answer to your last paragraph Russell is that it pays to have experience of the processes that you are managing. Companies in Germany, Europe and Asia tend to be led by those who have emerged from the disciplines that create the wealth that they manage: engineering for instance.

    The English speaking world has been cursed with the ‘generalist’ manager, who apparently brings unspecified ‘management expertise’ to their role, but is usually clueless because they know nothing about the processes that they are managing.

    A good example of this is in my first position, which was with a company that sold pigs to pig farmers. The marketing manager held it as a point of pride that he had served in that role for decades but had never set foot on a pig farm. The results of this ignorance were predictable. I do recall replying to one of his flunkies in response to a demand from him that I produce several hundred additional pigs of a certain size and type in three weeks to support a marketing campaign to which they were fully and publicly committed:

    My response was that after I had served a pig it took 115 days for the litter to be born and 150 days after that to grow it to the 110 KG size specified, and that nothing on God’s Earth could expedite this natural 11 month process.
    They were flabbergasted by this response and I was roundly decried for my ‘unreasonableness’ and ‘lack of commitment’.

    Thus in my opinion it is important to understand the teaching process if you are to manage it. A good example of this is the use of university common pool teaching rooms. At Otago these pool rooms are used to deliver tutorials – the most common form of teaching contact. These rooms can be up to a kilometre apart as the campus progressively ‘donuts’ and more of the central area is given over to purposes that are not related to either teaching or research. So for example I can be teaching in a house at the far end of St. David St and ten minutes later can be expected to be teaching again at the far end of the T. College.

    These rooms appear to be allocated to each course at random – with the result that teaching locations for any one course are scattered around a wide geographical area. They are also allocated late. I start teaching this semester at 9.00 on Monday. I only get to know in which room(s) I will be lecturing/tutoring today.

    If the course is a big one where 50 minute tutorials have to be delivered in ‘strings’ with 10 minutes to get from one room to another, the issues become obvious. I am 56, my teaching partner is 68. The most efficient way to deliver tutorials is to teach ‘strings’ of them, but this is impossible because neither of us are up to shutting down a tute, sprinting a kilometre and setting up the next one in under ten minutes. (This is similar to asking a secondary teacher to deliver consecutive lessons in Kings High and then Bayfield High). Instead we have to walk out (10 minutes) walk back (10 minutes) and figure out what to do with the 40 minutes of ‘dead’ time that remains to us in between staggered tutes. Meanwhile the other partner is doing the same thing threaded in.

    It makes no sense to me, but I suppose that from the point of view of a manager who has never taught (or run) and never will, it increases efficiency in other paper-based ways.

  47. Hype O'Thermia

    Splendid real-life examples of why people who don’t understand the nuts and bolts of a business should not be put in charge of organising them. Before you know what’s happened they will have decided that rivets being cheaper and lighter than coach bolts are the way forward and a shipping container of them will be blocking your fire exit.

  48. Elizabeth

    University of Otago

    The Old [B]Witch Trick

    Vice-chancellor puts up Uni detritus in the media, a NEW Building project, THEN INSULTS and DISMISSES the Human Resources [General Staff] she doesn’t need to keep her crumbling empire together.

    F*** that, Harls.

    1. Tourism dept among best
    2. Building safe despite cracks: university
    3. Dunedin Study exhibition boosts museum numbers
    4. Students address broken glass issue
    5. University looking at changing logo
    6. Project music to the ears
    7. Studio will be demolished when new facility finished
    8. Otago University drops dance degree
    9. Big job cuts plan at Otago University

  49. Elizabeth

    University of Otago vice-chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne’s pay cheque jumped at least $20,001 to between $590,000 and $599,999 in 2015/16 – a figure described as “justified” by the academic institution.

    Is she worth it. NOOOO.


    Official Information Request:

    From: J James
    April 11, 2017

    Dear University of Otago,
    In the last financial year, how much did the Vice-Chancellor earn?
    Further, what perks did they receive because of their capacity as Vice-Chancellor? EG, free flights, tickets to events, and other significant gifts to their person.
    Yours faithfully,
    J James

    From: University of Otago Registrar
    University of Otago

    May 10, 2017
    Dear J James,

    In the 2015-2016 year, the Vice-Chancellor’s salary was in the $590,000 to $599,999 band.

    In that year the Vice-Chancellor received two tickets for the opening night of a play at the Fortune Theatre and two tickets to an All Blacks test match at Forsyth Barr Stadium.


    Jan Flood

    █


    University of Otago: Human Resources: Performance & salary review

  50. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  51. Elizabeth

    The ODT page 1 headline states:
    University cuts ‘a huge hit’

    Don’t think I’m the only one who never expected a job for life after finishing postgrad up north.

    There would be a few general staff at Otago who’ve had their feet under the desk a bit too long as professorial, professional school, and departmental empires were built and expanded with help of “the gs pets” – despite working well or even hard at times.

    Change can be very good to stay competitive but there’s nothing to suggest UoO leaders know quite what it is to provide competitive coursing to go with the generous central heating and new landscaping.

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