The Telegraph has photos of 16 of the world’s most beautiful universities.
There among the venerable institutions of Oxford, Havard, Cape Town, Moscow State, Bologna, Toronto, Cambridge, Salamanca, Mumbai, Sydney, University of London’s Royal Holloway, Princeton, Xiamen, Queens Belfast and Yale is Otago.
The photo is of the registry building and clock tower at the emotional, if not geographical, centre of the campus.
Otago, though much younger, is the closest we have to a university city like Oxford which we visited in June.
My cousin’s daughter, who is studying there, took us to Balliol College for lunch then gave us a tour of places which were familiar through literature and films but so much more impressive in reality.
The buildings are beautiful and having a guide with local knowledge gave us a real appreciation of the history and traditions of the university.
Country towns which nearly died during the 80s ag-sag are getting new leases of life for a variety of reasons.
Improvements in technology enable people to run their businesses from almost anywhere. A couple who live near us make a very good living from importing goods and selling them on Trade Me.
Changes in land use from extensive sheep and beef farming to more intensive dairying, horticulture and viticulture have created more jobs and brought more people into country districts which flows through in to the wee towns.
Tourist ventures such as the Central Otago Rail Trail and the Banks Peninsula Track bring visitors which creates opportunities for the provisions of food, accomodation and retail.
And sometimes the arrival of a new business is the catalyst which brings a wee town to life. Fleur Sullivan did it for Moeraki when she opened her cafe there and now Jo Seagar has done it for Oxford.
A group of us went to Jo’s cooking school last year. She told us their first year had gone much better than they’d budgeted for and it was easy to see why. After enjoying the cooking lesson and meal we all bought something at the homeware store on our way out.
But it’s not just the Seagars who are doing well, their business has brought people into their new home town which has created opportunities for other businesses. One of which is Emmas at Oxford a book, gift and gourmet essentials store which Jo encouraged us to visit before we left town.
TV3 profiled Jo and her impact on Oxford. You can read about it and watch the video here.