Amongst our alumni are men and women of all cultures who have made great differences, and who stand as shining examples. The UC Legends initiative celebrates those alumni with pride, and maintains an ongoing connection between today’s UC students and those of the past.
Ada Wells was a well-known teacher, reformer, and activist in late nineteenth-early twentieth century Christchurch.
Alice Candy was the first female academic staff member to have a distinctive influence on The University of Canterbury.
Sir Apirana Ngata was the first Māori to graduate from a University in New Zealand in 1893.
Beatrice Tinsley was one of the most creative and significant theoreticians in modern astronomy.
Elsie Locke was a writer, historian and renowned activist in the peace and feminist movements in New Zealand.
Nobel laureate Lord Rutherford became known as ‘the father of the atom’ for his discovery of atomic structure.
Helen Connon was Canterbury College’s first woman student and the first in the British Empire to receive an Honours degree when her Master of Arts was conferred in 1881.
Henry Field was an educational psychologist who made a significant contribution to development of the Christchurch Teachers College.
Sir Ian Axford was an astrophysicist whose illustrious career made him a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986 and New Zealander of the Year in 1995.
Jack Erskine, a contemporary of Lord Ernest Rutherford, proved as adept at the stock market as he did at electrical engineering.
Jack (John Forman) Mann was the first super-principal of the consolidated Christchurch teachers College, achieving an effective amalgamation of the primary and secondary divisions.
Sir James Hight was one of the foremost influences on higher education in New Zealand during the first half of the 20th Century.
Emeritus Professor Jane Soons was the University of Canterbury’s first female professor.
John Britten designed the world-renowned Britten motorcycle, a ground-breaking invention that won races and set numerous speed records on international circuits.
Chief creator of Canterbury College’s academic traditions, Macmillan Brown was reputed to have said “I am Canterbury College”.
Julius von Haast was a German geologist who explored Canterbury extensively in the 1860s before becoming Curator of the Canterbury Museum.
Sir Karl Popper is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.
Margaret Mahy (ONZ) is New Zealand's most celebrated children's author of more than 120 titles that have been translated into 15 different languages.
Marion Steven, wife of James Logie who was Registrar of Canterbury College from 1950-1956, was the driving force behind the James Logie Memorial Collection of antiquities.
Sir Michael was the first New Zealand born judge to sit on the Privy Council in 1936.
Best known as one of four original “Queens of Crime” novelists, Dame Ngaio Marsh was also a renowned artist, playwright, actor and director.
Rita Angus, a pioneer of modern painting, was a leading figure in twentieth century New Zealand art.
Sir Wallace [Bill] Rowling was born in Motueka near Nelson into a long-established farming family. After qualifying from Teachers College Primary in 1946, he gained a BA and MA in Economics in 1950 and 1956 respectively from the University of Canterbury.