Having just spent hours trawling through the TikTok accounts of every New Zealand university, I can comfortably say I wasted a lot of time, but at least I can rank them.
One of the factors I took into account when ranking the universities was ‘Would this TikTok content make me embarrassed if I went to this uni?’ and, spectacularly, none of NZ’s tertiary establishments' TikTok accounts are cringy - which is an achievement as a corporate account.
Each feed celebrates the experiences of students in Aotearoa. Just one though, performs a graceful waltz on the fine line of Gen Z meme-ing and being the online face of your university.
NB: Lincoln is another university but they don’t have an official TikTok - it’s an agricultural uni and there is no time to scroll when crops must be tended to.
THE OFFICIAL RANKINGS OF THE NEW ZEALAND UNIVERSITY TIKTOK ACCOUNTS
7. Massey University
It breaks my heart to put my former uni at the bottom spot. It’s got great information for students on it, and I thoroughly enjoyed the linguistics professor guessing Gen Z slang. However, compared to other universities, the entertainment factor just isn’t there.
Massey’s TikTok also features Fergus the Ram, the university’s mascot I never encountered during my three years as a Massey student. Fergus is a natural in front of the camera and Massey needs to show him off more.
6. University of Waikato
The University of Waikato would have been last if not for the high quality of the very few memes it shared. It’s a very straight-edge content strategy, one that shows off the campus, activities, and students’ achievements, which is fine but probably not that interesting for people who don’t go there.
So my joy when I was nearing the end of my scroll and came across a giant cat grooving on top of a campus building cannot be understated. Great meme.
5. University of Canterbury
Wholesomeness is at the core of the University of Canterbury’s TikTok account. Its most viral video is one showing off the best places to get a coffee on campus, there are so many videos encouraging the students and giving them tips on how to have fun by exploring Christchurch.
Their meme usage is markedly low, however, one of the few is a clip from the incredible kids' TV show ‘In the Night Garden’.
Big points for nothing over the top, just knowing what they love about their uni and displaying that the best they can.
4. Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
AUT’s ability to provide relevant information to students through the vessel of meme-ing is commendable. Their meme folder is also high-class compared to their competitors.
Students must love leaving AUT early to get back home as their two most viral memes are about exactly that - always going to give points for knowing your audience.
In 95% of their TikToks, there’s a guy in the comments talking about “a gadillion dollars”. I have no idea what that is but points for having an inside joke - a sign of a tight-knit, fun-loving, and potentially wealthy community.
3. University of Otago
It’s immediately apparent that the University of Otago’s TikTok admin loves the university. They do the best job of showing off what students (and wildlife) get up to on the uni. As a former breather, I had no idea there was legitimate stuff to do at Otago uni other than drinking copiously until I watched this account.
I’ve ranked them in the top three because there’s no filler on their account. The memes aren’t incredible, but they get the point across; they have interesting informational TikToks, like how to escape a rip in the ocean, and they show off student life in an interesting, unique way - like rating fits at their open day.
2. Victoria University of Wellington
Victoria University has many TikToks that truly represent Welly student life through the medium of memes - evidenced by their most viral one showing off all the pairs of Doc Martens running around on campus.
Their pigeon meme is incredible by the way.
It leaps up to #2 because of its strong array of memes, but also because of content ideas the other unis just didn’t think of. Their educational video on how to put on academic dress for graduation and the TikToks showing off the best places to grab a bite on campus are huge additions to their feed.
1. UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND
Always on top of the trends, creating quality memes about #studentlife, and genuinely documenting campus events and the lives of students, Auckland University’s TikTok account is easily the best.
Most importantly though, they engage with their fans. Including them in slideshows and replying to comments, something no other university did. It's always about the fans, always.
Confused about what I value the most in these rankings? Same. All I know is what I want out fed into my TikTok algorithm and this is the list I came up with. The standard has been set on how a university can be silly online, finally.