Education Minister Chris Hipkins has vetoed the University of Victoria's plan to change its name.

In a move that caused an outcry from Wellingtonians and former students, the university's council made an application to change the institution's name to the University of Wellington on September 27.

"I have considered the university's recommendation and supporting information along with advice received from officials," Hipkins said today.

The council's consultation showed staff were divided on the name change - and there was significant opposition from alumni and students.


That opposition was also reflected in surveys conducted by the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association and the VUW Law Students' Society and, to a lesser extent, the Tertiary Education Union.

"I also received more than 450 pieces of correspondence on the name change question from students, alumni and others mostly opposed to the name change," Hipkins said.

"Many of these referred to a petition with more than 10,000 signatories listed as opposing the name change."

Victoria University vice-chancellor professor Grant Guilford led the charge for a change to University of Wellington to eliminate confusion for potential overseas students. He was also concerned about other universities taking credit for work done at the Wellington campus.

"The achievements of our staff and students, and for that matter our city, can be attributed to other institutions and countries, dimming our international standing," Guildford said.

The Education Act requires the minister's approval for a university to change its legal name.

"While Victoria University of Wellington, like other universities, has significant autonomy in making academic, operational and management decisions, it is accountable to its community and the groups that make up the university," Hipkins said.

"I am not convinced that the university engaged sufficiently with the views of those stakeholders who should have their views considered.


"Given the level of opposition to the University's recommendation, including by its own staff, students and alumni, I am not persuaded that the recommendation is consistent with the demands of accountability and the national interest."

Victoria University Chancellor Neil Paviour-Smith said staff were "considering" Hipkins' decision.

The university council that sought the name change followed "well over a year of research, seeking advice from experts and discussion with staff, students, alumni and stakeholders, including a consultation period during which close to 2500 submissions were received".