The Southern Alps mountains in New Zealand
The Southern Alps mountains in New Zealand
(Image credit: Shutterstock).

Oceania region

The links between Oxford University and Oceania stretch back to the first days of higher education in Australia and New Zealand. Today, the University’s collaborative work with scholars in Australia results in its largest number of co-publications with any country overseas besides the United States, Germany and France.

After the New Zealand earthquake of 2011 devastated the city of Christchurch, including many of the University of Canterbury’s facilities, Oxford offered 42 fully funded places to Canterbury’s students to allow them to continue their studies while their city was rebuilt.

Research, teaching and other links with Oceania

Study and teaching on the Oceania region takes place in departments throughout Oxford’s academic divisions.

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand has operated in the region since 1908, based in Australia where it is the country’s largest and oldest educational publisher. It also publishes educational and reference materials for New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Collaborations with institutions in Oceania

This is a selection of Oxford’s collaborative work with organisations in the Oceania region.

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences collaborations

The Global Jet Watch study of black holes is both a scientific project in itself and a way of promoting an interest in science to children. The project studies the behaviour of matter around black holes, using a collection of five small telescopes worldwide including two in Australia. Four of the five telescopes have been located at boarding schools, whose pupils are assisted and encouraged to experiment with using the equipment. The project’s leader, Oxford’s Professor Katherine Blundell, was honoured in 2017 with an OBE for ‘services to astronomy and the education of young people’.

Humanities collaborations

The Digital Panopticon website brings together historical British and Australian records of convicts sentenced to transportation. Records on individuals, places or types of offence can be combined from different sources, and it also allows the exploration and visualisation of data on a larger scale. It offers a resource for both academic research and for teaching at school and university level.

Interdisciplinary collaborations

Oxford and the Australian National University are both members of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), an alliance of 11 leading research-focused universities. IARU member institutions work together on projects addressing major global issues, to offer development opportunities to their staff and students, and on issues of institutional management.

Oxford and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand have operated the Oxford–Canterbury Exchange Programme since 2002. It allows a small number of academics each year to spend around three months teaching at the counterpart institution. The programme was begun in recognition of the longstanding links between the two institutions.

Scholarships and travel assistance

There are many schemes offering funding for international undergraduate students and particularly funding for international graduate students to study at Oxford, as well as schemes to help students already at Oxford travel abroad.

Student societies

Oxford has official clubs and societies for people interested in, or who have a connection to, many different countries and regions.

Oxford alumni in the Oceania region

Oxford has a large number of alumni groups around the world.

Notable alumni from the Oceania region

Distinguished Oxford alumni from the region include several Australian prime ministers:

  • Sir John Gorton (in office 1968–71)
  • Malcolm Fraser (1975–83)
  • Bob Hawke (1983–91)
  • Tony Abbott (2013–15)
  • Malcolm Turnbull (2015–18)

In addition, Kevin Rudd (prime minister 2007–10 and 2013) became a doctoral student at Oxford in 2017.

Other notable alumni from the region include:

  • Sir Howard Florey (Australia), one of the developers of penicillin, for which he shared the 1945 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, first prime minister of Fiji (1970–92) and later its president (1994–2000).
  • Rupert Murdoch (Australia), founder of News Corporation.