Kate Edger | Ururangi

Kate Edger

Image of Kate EdgerPortrait of Kate Edger, the first woman in New Zealand to gain a degree

The first Information Commons facility (City Campus) has been named after Kate Milligan Edger (1857-1935) who was the first woman in New Zealand to gain a degree. She was also the first woman in the British Empire to gain a BA. She gained a BA in Mathematics in 1877 for study carried out at Auckland College and Grammar School, affiliated to the University of New Zealand. After graduation Kate Edger taught at Christchurch Girls' High School, and obtained an MA in 1882. She became the first principal of Nelson College for Girls (1883-1893). Moving to Wellington, she remained involved in education and was active in a number of social reform organisations.

The University Library holds and displays Kate Edger's degree testamur. The naming of a major student facility after Kate Edger gives prominence to the educational achievements of women in New Zealand and also attests to the opportunity that New Zealand provided for progress in education.

Read more about Kate Edger and her legacy.


E ngā reo, e ngā mana, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

The name Ururangi marks the start of the journey of the Māori god Tāne-nui-ā-rangi as he climbed into the heavens to gain the three baskets of knowledge.

These baskets contained all wisdom.

Ururangi is the gateway to Tāne's climb. It is thus appropriate that this name is given to a facility that is primarily for undergraduate students, who are also at the beginning of their journey into higher learning.

A celebrated oriori or sung poem was the genesis for the name, which was discussed within Te Rōpū Kaimahi Māori, the Māori library staff group. The oriori is also associated with the University meeting house, which is called Tāne-nui-ā-rangi. The name was also discussed with the University kuia, Dr Merimeri Penfold.

Mārama te ata i Ururangi
Mārama te ata i Taketake-nui o rangi
Ka whakawhenua ngā Hiringa i konei, e tama!

Morning is bright at Ururangi
Morning is bright at the base of the heavens
On this earth is implanted all knowledge, oh son!

From "He Oriori Mo Tū-Tere-Moana", Ngā Moteatea vol.3, edited by A.T. Ngata (Wellington: Polynesian Society, 1970)

So we have "Ururangi - the gateway interface to higher learning" in addition to the Kate Edger Information Commons name.