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.
Anote Tong graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1976 with a degree in Chemistry followed by a Masters in Economics from the London School of Economics.
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.
Cal Wilson is well known to all New Zealanders as a writer, TV and radio presenter, and as a stand-up comedian.
Craig Nevill-Manning founded Google's first remote engineering centre in Manhattan where he is now Engineering Director.
Dame Aroha is a former national president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League and active community worker amongst Māori in New Zealand.
David Jaggar has been honoured with a prestigious medal from the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Professor Teece is an internationally renowned economist, business intellectual, strategic advisor and scholar entrepreneur.
Ngāi Tahu Iwi Leader Donald Couch is a well-known educator, author and resource manager both in New Zealand and abroad.
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.
Gemma New is an internationally renowned conductor and Music Director who has worked with both the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestras.
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.
Jeff Field has had a 32-year university career of distinguished service to the University of Canterbury, including serving as UC Registrar from 2005-2020.
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.
Samoan matai Justice Vui Clarence Nelson has been a judiciary reformer and tireless advocate of human rights throughout his career, particularly those of children.
Sir Karl Popper is regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.
Lexie Matheson is an activist, academic, event manager and performing artist.
Lianne Dalziel graduated from UC with a Law degree and was admitted to the bar in 1985. She entered New Zealand Parliament in 1990.
Liz Calder is an editor and publisher who has discovered some of the greatest writers of our times.
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.
Barrister Maui Solomon is a well known Indigenous Rights activist, mediator and negotiator in New Zealand, the Pacific and internationally.
Sir Michael was the first New Zealand born judge to sit on the Privy Council in 1936.
Miriama Kamo is a broadcaster, journalist and television presenter with TVNZ.
Best known as one of four original “Queens of Crime” novelists, Dame Ngaio Marsh was also a renowned artist, playwright, actor and director.
Prior to studying business administration at Massey University, Peter Dunne graduated with a BA and MA (Hons) in Political Science in 1976 and 1977 respectively from the University of Canterbury.
Rita Angus, a pioneer of modern painting, was a leading figure in twentieth century New Zealand art.
Rodney Hide graduated from UC with a degree in Zoology and Botany in 1979 before travelling extensively overseas.
Mathematician Roy Kerr is best known for his discovery of the exact solution to the Einstein field equation of general relativity.
Science writer Vicki Hyde chaired the New Zealand Skeptics for 18 years, whilst also editing and publishing a number of books with either astronomical - or more unusual themes.
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.