Massey History

Massey University has grown from a small agricultural college in Palmerston North to become New Zealand's largest residential university spread over three cities. Massey University now has three campuses in the North Island, and the highest number of extramural students.

Massey offers the only veterinary science programmes in New Zealand. Massey also offers the only Bachelor of Aviation degree in New Zealand. Massey University qualifications are recognised worldwide and several programmes have international accreditation.

From 85 students in the first year, Massey now has over 35,000 internal and extramural students.

Picture of Refectory New to OldRestoration of Refectory Building

In 1931 the Refectory was the second building on the Massey campus. At that time it was the heart of a vibrant young Agricultural College, a place to eat and socialise.

By 1964 the Agricultural College had become a University and its student numbers had expanded beyond the Refectory’s capabilities. A new dining hall was built as part of the Student Union Building and the Refectory was converted into teaching space. The vaulted chamber that was once the crowning glory of the Refectory was divided into two storeys and the arched windows built-in to allow classrooms to be created. The huge fireplace and original ceiling of the common room were concealed to add more teaching space for an ever expanding student body.

Now, after several more changes of function and years of wear and tear, the building stands empty, in need of urgent repair and earthquake strengthening.

Read more about the project


50 year celebrations

2014 marked 50 years since Massey became a university and 21 years since our Albany campus was established. It was also 50 years since we offered the world's first degree in Food Technology.

Massey 50 years logo


Massey Albany 21st

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Submit your story

We would love you to contribute a story or thoughts around your time since graduating from Massey. If you can spare the time to write 200-300 words we will be delighted to include it in the memento of the 50th anniversary celebrations. You can submit your stories below
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