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The link between Town and Gown extends back to 1869, when Otago became New Zealand’s first university. It moved to its current Water-of-Leith location ten years later, upon the completion of the Maxwell Bury-designed Professorial Homes and Clocktower building. These buildings and Edmund Anscombe’s similar extensions form the nucleus of an attractive and architecturally diverse campus, though the Otago Witness ( 15 March, 1879) reported that ‘The Professors’ houses first startled observers by their extraordinary complications and inclinations of window and roof, and have eventually horrified all moderate tastes by blooming forth in a tint of the darkest and most inflammatory red.’
Every February a new wave of students – 'Scarfies' – spills into the Halls of Residence and flats of North Dunedin. Other residents brace themselves for O-Week, a rolling party in which inhibitions are lost and lifetime friendships made. After that, students get down to the serious business of study.
Otago is New Zealand’s most prestigious university. Once the home of the nation’s only Law and Medical Schools, today’s University is strong across a range of disciplines and gains consistently high national and international rankings for both research and teaching.
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