There is an almost cliched whakatauki which is incredibly dear to my heart: “He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together”. To some, this is something you hear in your school assemblies or workplaces, but to me it embodies the spirit of the university halls I’ve spent the entirety of my UOA journey a part of.

If you’re looking for a place to stay in your first year, there’s a few options for you.

  • Waipārūrū Hall
  • O’Rorke Hall
  • University Hall – Towers
  • Grafton Hall and Student Flats

Each of these first year halls has a unique vibe and I seriously think you can find your fit. Of course, being out of home will never go absolutely perfect. To help you on your journey, I thought I’d attach a short, non-exhaustive and mildly biassed table on each of our first year halls, from both the perspective of a first year and a Resident Advisor (the staff member who helps look after all the residents in the hall).

O’Rorke Hall – My home in first year and the oldest university hall at UOA. 

O’Rorke is known for its close knit community atmosphere. The hall is built to bring people together, with smaller pod style living and balconies galore. O’Rorke boasts the 2022 Hall Spirit award and an underdog mentality second to none. O’Rorke will be your cup of tea if you love a smaller community and the awesome history carried within the walls.

Waipārūrū Hall – The newest and largest first year hall in Auckland, as well as my current home!

Waipārūrū is a bustling hall, and the massive size affords a truly broad spectrum of people. If you’ve been to a large high school, it has a similar vibe. There will always be a space for your community at this hall. Also, a major bonus is the high quality, multi-station dining hall situation included in your rent. If you’re on the lookout for something truly bustling, this is your place!

University Hall – Towers – A classy environment which neighbours the Elam School of Fine Arts.

University Hall – Towers (or Towers, as we know it here) is another exciting and young hall which provides a high energy environment to take advantage of in your first year. Towers’ close proximity to the fine arts school really elevates the vibes, and being in the building just feels fun! If you want a hall which really brings that extra pizazz, check out Towers!

Grafton Hall and Student Flats – A homely complex located on the Grafton campus, but still a roughly 15 minute walk from the City Campus.

Grafton Hall’s homely atmosphere strikes you immediately, and its location really adds to this. The Grizzlies of Grafton are another tight-knit whanau, and the particularly large rooms are a big bonus (so I’ve heard…). If you are interested in clinical pathways or to be closer to senior students (in the Student Flats), this could be your place. Likewise, if you want that close knit atmosphere, make sure to check out this hall!

Best of luck on your journey through UOA Accommodation and I hope you all can find the right community for you.


Check out all the first-year accommodation options online.