Former governor general named new Waikato chancellor

New Zealand university swaps former prime minister for Sir Anand Satyanand

August 6, 2019
Anand Satyanand University of Waikato chancellor former New Zealand governor-general

Former New Zealand governor general Sir Anand Satyanand has been appointed chancellor of the University of Waikato, effective immediately.

The one-time lawyer, district court judge and parliamentary ombudsman replaces former prime minister James Bolger, whose 12-year term as chancellor ended in June. It is the second high-profile chancellorial appointment in the region in a week, after former Australian foreign minister and prime ministerial aspirant Julie Bishop was named chancellor of the Australian National University.

Sir Anand said the position offered the “exciting new challenge” of working at the governance level of a university in the middle of an “expansion and development” phase.

Waikato, which ranks fifth among the country’s universities, opened a new campus in the coastal city of Tauranga in April. It has unveiled a 20-year master plan for the development of its main campus in New Zealand’s fourth biggest city, Hamilton, about 68 miles (110km) south of Auckland.

Sir Anand said his association with Waikato began when, as governor general, he delivered a lecture at the law school about the connections between the position and New Zealand’s election system.

He subsequently spent three years as a consultant on a postgraduate law programme and “was one of a number of outside people that came to give their advice on papers submitted by scholars”.

Sir Anand has also announced his intention to step down as chairman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, which he has led since its establishment early last year. He told reporters that the experience had been “both heartening and heart-breaking” and that he had decided to step aside now that the development stage of the inquiry was nearing completion.

Neil Quigley, Waikato’s vice-chancellor, said the university had spent months securing Mr Bolger’s successor, initiating discussions in February and appointing him to council during Mr Bolger’s last meeting in May.

Professor Quigley said Sir Anand would bring “a wealth of knowledge” and the university would “benefit enormously from Sir Anand’s wisdom and experience”.

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