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University of Canterbury

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The University of Canterbury is located in Christchurch, the largest city in New Zealand's South Island.

The University offers:

  • World-class research
  • Inspirational teaching
  • A vibrant campus environment
  • A great student lifestyle with students from around the world

    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 partly 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. In 1933, the name changed from Canterbury College to Canterbury University College. In 1957 its name was changed again to the present University of Canterbury.

    Until 1961, the University 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, Canterbury Agricultural College became a constituent college of the University of Canterbury, becoming Lincoln College. 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.

    The Campus

    The University has a 760,000 square metre main campus at Ilam, a suburb of Christchurch about 5 km from the city centre. Adjacent to the main campus is the University's College of Education, with its own sports fields and grounds. There are six libraries, with the Central Library housed in the tallest building on campus, the 11-storey James Hight building.

    The University's College of Education maintains additional small campuses in Nelson, Tauranga and Timaru, and teaching centres in Greymouth, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Timaru. The University has staff in regional information offices in Nelson, Timaru, and Auckland.

    There are six Halls of residence: Bishop Julius Hall, College House, Rochester and Rutherford Hall, and University Hall, Sonoda Christchurch Campus and Ilam Village.

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

    • Cass Field Station - Provides a wide range of environments - montane grasslands, scrub, riverbed, scree, beech forest, swamp, bog, lake, stream and alpine habitats can all be reached by day trips on foot
    • Kaikoura Field Station - Provides a wide range of environments - diverse marine habitats, alpine habitats, Kanuka forests, rivers, lakes
    • Harihari Field Station - Access to native forests, streams
    • Westport Field Station - study of the West Coast of New Zealand in particular mining

    There is also an additional field Station run primarily by the University and its project partners in the Nigerian Montane Forests Project - this field station is on the Ngel Nyaki forest edge in Nigeria.

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

    • Mount John University Observatory at Lake Tekapo for optical astronomical research
    • Birdling's Flat radar facility
    • Scott Base radar facility
    • Cracroft Caverns ring laser facility

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

    Contact the University of Canterbury

    Street Address

    The University's Communications and Development Department is located on level five of the Registry Building, University Drive, Ilam Road, Christchurch, New Zealand.

    Postal Address

    Communications and Development
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800
    New Zealand

    Telephone: +64 3 364 2922
    Fax: +64 3 364 2679

    For further information about the University of Canterbury please take a look around their official website at

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