The establishment of Massey Agricultural College
After years of debate over where to site the school, and what its exact purpose should be, Massey was founded near Palmerston North in 1926. Like Lincoln College, Massey struggled in its early years through lack of adequate funding.
Massey becomes a university
From the outset the college council was determined to develop Massey into a full university, although progress was slow. The school remained Massey Agricultural College until 1961, when it became Massey College. In 1963 it achieved university status and was known as the Massey University of Manawatū. Three years later the name was abbreviated to Massey University.
When teaching began at Massey Agricultural College in 1928, there were 85 students, including nine studying for degrees, with the remainder studying for diplomas. In 1960 the student roll was 500, with courses still focused on agricultural subjects. The range of courses expanded with the establishment of the Faculty of Veterinary Science in 1962. The Faculty of Science followed in 1963, and in 1965 the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences were introduced, although some arts subjects had been taught before this.
In 2007 Massey offered 150 qualifications across sciences, education, business, humanities and social sciences. It has a special role in extramural education, with over 20,000 students taking off-campus courses each year.
Pranks with the PM
The Kareti Club was formed by students in 1930 to act as a guardian of student social life. This apparently involved consuming large quantities of beer and organising stunts. One of their most notorious stunts took place in 1936, when club members transported Prime Minister M. J. Savage around the campus in a wheelbarrow.
In 1926 the government purchased 330 hectares of land for the college. Additional purchases were made in the following years so that by the mid-1960s the college farms amounted to 1,700 hectares in several sites, including a hill-country block in the southern Hawke’s Bay. In 2007 the university ran 2,200 hectares of farmland for teaching and research.