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Shortly after Massey attained university status in 1963, some staff and students of the University felt that new arms should be adopted to represent the wider scope of the new institution.
The Professorial Board (now known as the Academic Board) set the process in motion and invited staff and students to submit designs for a new coat of arms. Several designs were received and evaluated, but because of the difficulty of reaching agreement on the new design, it was decided to follow a more formal approach.
In October 1964 the University Council lodged an application with the College of Arms, reiterating the Professorial Board's brief of 1963. This brief required that the arms should "present a unity of design, that they should predict learning in its broadest concept and that there should be some pictorial indication of association with New Zealand."
The first drafts of the new armorial design were received from the College of Arms in May 1965 and made available for comment by students and staff. Some amendments and a suggestion for a motto for the University was approved by the University Council and submitted to the College of Arms.
After further correspondence, amendments and delays, the arms were eventually authorised and witnessed by the College in May 1967. The new design, in use ever since, was received at Palmerston North shortly before Christmas 1967.
The current coat of arms of the University was authorised on 10 May 1967 and is heraldically defined as:
Gyronny of ten argent and azure a mullet gules ambriated argent and irradiated or and for the crest on a wreath of the colours issuant from flames proper a ram's head argent horned and ensigned by the horns of the African long legged ram.
The coat of arms consists of a shield emblazoned with the arms. The centre piece of the arms is the five pointed red star of New Zealand which is set in an irradiated silver star. This symbolizes the central theme of the University - knowledge and learning - with its colleges and degrees irradiating from the fingers of the star. The background of the shield is a blue and white gyronny of ten pieces which represent the ten degrees taught by the first seven faculties of the University.
The crest is a four-horn ram's head which was originally used in the badge of the Students' Association of the University's predecessor, the Massey Agricultural College. The ram's head is symbolic of the link the University has with agriculture, and a reminder of its heritage. To suggest the phoenix-like birth of the new University out of its predecessors, the ram's head proceeds, in a unique design, from flames of learning.
The University motto is Floreat Scientia - Let Knowledge Flourish.
Page authorised by University Archivist
Last updated on Monday 25 November 2019