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Massey answers calls for higher education in agriculture (1879-1926)

Massey began as an agricultural college in Palmerston North. The college officially opened on 20 March 1928 as a fully constituent college of the University of New Zealand.

Strong political support for an agricultural college

From 1879, strong political support existed for an agricultural college in the North Island of New Zealand. Sir George Grey (former Governor of New Zealand), the Farmers' Union, and George Hogben (Inspector-General of Education) were strong supporters of a college.

William Massey announces an agricultural college

Massey is named after former Prime Minister William Ferguson Massey. He announced the establishment of an agricultural college in the North Island as a priority in his inaugural speech in 1912.

Schools of agriculture combine to form Massey

In 1923, Victoria University College in Wellington founded a Chair of Agriculture with money donated by Walter Buchanan. A year later, Auckland University College created a School of Agriculture.

In February 1926, Victoria University College and Auckland University Colleges relinquished their respective schools of agriculture. The schools combined under the New Zealand Agricultural College Act 1926. The College was renamed Massey Agricultural College in 1927 in honour of William Ferguson Massey

Professor Geoffrey Peren, former Chair of Agriculture at Victoria University College, became the principal of the new agricultural college.

Professor William Riddet, former Chair of Agriculture at Auckland University College, was appointed to the chair in agriculture.

Professors Peren and Riddet

1926 Professors Peren and Riddet

The two founding Professors. Professors Geoffrey Peren (left) and William Riddet shown here in the 1920s when they were investigating possible sites for the Agricultural College.


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