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University of Auckland Winter Lecture Series recordings

Identifier: MSS-Archives-MS 2020/01

Scope and Contents

The Winter Lecture Series recordings consists of audio recordings, in various media, of lectures held in the Series since 1984. Video recordings begin to replace audio recordings from 2004, and a few lectures also include the accompanying slide presentations and notes. Recording quality varies depending on the location the lecture was held and equipment available.

Some abstracts have been included based on content sourced from University publications such as UniNews or the University website.


  • 1984 - 2020

Biographical / Historical

In June 1958 Dr Keith Sinclair proposed the University of Auckland follow the University of Canterbury’s lead in establishing a series of lunch-hour lectures on topics that lend themselves to discussion, by speakers from a range of different departments and faculties. The concept of the series was to introduce students to the points of view of academic disciplines other than their own.

In his later work, A history of the University of Auckland, Sinclair claimed the series was really established to give students somewhere dry to sit during a wet, wintery lunchtime.

The proposal was rapidly approved, with the first Winter Lectures series commencing in 1959 with the topic ‘Man’.

By the 1980s the scope of the series had grown. The target audience had expanded to include the general public, and the lectures were seen as an opportunity to express a university point of view on subjects of topical interest. Lecturers from other institutions and industries were also invited to participate.

The Winter Lectures series continues to be held on an annual basis, with the exception of the 2021/22 series which were cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.


0.6 metres (3 boxes containing: 91 cassettes, 31 CD-Rs, and 6 DVD-Rs.)

504 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Recordings are arranged chronologically by date of delivery, with each series representing that years’ topic. Series numbering commences with the first lecture series in 1959, but only years with recorded media are visible.

Earlier years will become visible if and when recordings come to hand.

Custodial History

Physical recordings were held at the Audio Visual Library of the University of Auckland until 12 February, 2003, when they were transferred to Special Collections' New Zealand Glass Case.

Born digital recordings were delivered to the University of Auckland Library's Digital Services team where they were made freely available through the DigiTool platform.

Organisational restructuring in 2018 brought all Winter Lecture material under administration of Cultural Collections where they were combined into a single archive resource.

Related Materials

The Library holds printed lectures for some of the early years of the series in it's general collection. Search "University of Auckland Winter Lectures" on the Te Tumu Herenga website to locate these items.

Processing Information

Physical sound recordings were digitised for preservation in 2021 and 2022.

Inventory of the University of Auckland Winter Lecture Series recordings.
William Hamill
June 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Media Services, The University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand