The University of Waikato opened in 1964 and today has a student population of around 13,000 students and 1500 staff. The University of Waikato has a longstanding relationship with the Kiingitanga and Waikato-Tainui, who are the traditional owners and custodians in the Waikato region. The University’s Hamilton campus is based on land originally inhabited by Ngaati Wairere and Ngaati Hauaa. Much of this land was confiscated in 1864 by the colonial government following the Waikato Land Wars, an act later found to be in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.
To redress this, the Crown signed a settlement with Waikato-Tainui in 1995, part of which vested the land on which the Hamilton campus stands in the title of the first Maaori King, Pootatau Te Wherowhero, to ensure it could not be alienated. It is now leased to the University by Tainui Group Holdings.
The 65ha Hamilton campus is characterised by its planting and extensive green spaces, many of which are used by the community for casual and organised recreation. The beauty of the campus is regularly attested to by staff, students, the community and international visitors, and is a significant distinguishing feature of this University.