Retirement of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Grant Guilford, has announced he will retire from his role in early March 2022.

Professor Guilford took over as Vice-Chancellor of Te Herenga Waka in March 2014.


It has been a privilege to serve this great university and its staff and students. However, after what will be eight years as Vice-Chancellor, I feel it will be time for new leadership to build on our current momentum and take advantage of the many opportunities that lie ahead,” says Professor Guilford.

“I want to thank and acknowledge the Council, Senior Leadership Team, and wider group of senior leaders at the University. Te Herenga Waka is fortunate to have such dedicated people to lead the institution.

“As the University approaches its 125th anniversary, I am confident it will continue to thrive over the many decades to come. Similarly, I am sure that the city and region will continue to benefit from the incredible staff and students of this institution who year-in, year-out, enrich the life of the capital while making the world a better place.”

Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith paid tribute to Professor Guilford’s leadership and contribution to the University.

“Professor Guilford has challenged the University to fulfil its potential, guided by an ambitious strategic plan.

“During his tenure, this has seen much closer engagement with Wellington, a rise in the University’s QS international ranking, doubling of our research income, increased student numbers, and retention of the number one ranking for research quality of all New Zealand universities in the PBRF assessment*. In addition, the University has enhanced its commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to sustainability.

“Professor Guilford also supported new developments such as the significant Te Toki a Rata sciences building, establishment of our successful Faculty of Health and our first major philanthropic campaign which is now nearing its $150 million target. All of this was achieved while also dealing with the significant challenges and disruption caused by the Kaikoura earthquake and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But most importantly, our University continues to provide an outstanding education led by world-class research and dedicated staff and with a commitment to delivering the best possible student experience.”

He said an extensive international recruitment search for a new Vice-Chancellor would commence soon.

“The University Council will be providing staff with an opportunity to share views on the appointment. We will also be engaging with Māori communities, student representatives and key external stakeholders.”

Professor Guilford says after more than two decades in senior leadership roles, he and his wife are looking forward to putting more time into their native forest restoration projects.

Professor Guilford will retire on 4 March 2022.

*The Performance-Based Research Fund is the country’s main measure of research excellence.