Dunedin is regarded as the “University City” of New Zealand, a title earned by the importance of the institution in the life of the city and by the large number of degree and diploma courses offered there, some 16 in all. The University of Otago—the first in the country—was founded in 1869, and as well as possessing the indispensable faculties of Arts, Science, Commerce, and Law, it has in addition the national Medical School, the national Dental School, a faculty of Technology incorporating the Otago School of Mines, a School of Home Science, a faculty of Divinity, and a School of Physical Education. Accommodation for some 800 students is available in halls of residence. There are several theological colleges in Dunedin, including Knox College (Presbyterian); Selwyn College (Anglican), and Holy Cross College (Roman Catholic) at Mosgiel.
Dunedin has many buildings of architectural interest, an outstanding example being First Church. There are also a number of monuments commemorating the pioneers, notably the Otago Provincial Centennial Memorial Look Out at Signal Hill, with its sculptures by F. A. Shurrock (q.v.). The city is well endowed with libraries, the most famous being the Hocken, which has a wide range of books, newspapers, maps, manuscripts, pictures, and portraits relating to New Zealand and the Pacific. The Early Settlers' Museum is concerned mainly with local history, the foundation and early growth of the province, and the pioneer families. The Otago Museum, which has a fine natural history section, is noted for its collection of Mediterranean and Middle East antiquities, and for that dealing with Maori and Polynesian cultures. Of especial interest is the collection of South Island Stone Age artefacts. The Dunedin Public Art Gallery has a very fine British and European collection, especially that dealing with the early English water-colour school. It has also some notable New Zealand paintings.
Dunedin has over 1,000 acres of public parks, domains, and gardens, a feature being the town belt, which was laid out in the original plan of the city. With its sections of indigenous and exotic trees and its recreational areas, it provides a wonderful background to the city proper. The public gardens, which are beautifully situated at the northern end of the belt, have outstanding displays of rhododendrons and azaleas. There are many fine scenic drives from the city to the outer suburbs, to beaches and holiday resorts both north and south, to the Taieri Plains, and around the Otago Peninsula.
POPULATION (urban area): 1951 census, 95,457; 1956 census, 99,370; 1961 census, 105,003.
by Richard Gregory Heerdegen, M.A., L.R.S.M., Junior Lecturer in Geography, Massey University of Manawatu and Alexander Hare McLintock, C.B.E., M.A., DIP.ED. (N.Z.), PH.D.(LOND.), Parliamentary Historian, Wellington.
- Port of Otago, McLintock, A. H. (1951)
- History of Otago, McLintock, A. H. (1949)
- The Story of Early Dunedin, Reed, A. H. (1956).