This year marks twenty-one years of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) as a university and over 125 years as a tertiary education institution.
Established as New Zealand’s eighth university on 1 January 2000, AUT has grown and evolved in a remarkably short period of time and is now the third ranked university in New Zealand, and consistently ranked in the top 1% of universities around the world.
In 1999, we had around 14,000 full and part time students, no professors, one PhD student, and a modest number of postgraduate students. Fast forward to today, AUT has more than 1,000 doctoral students, 200 professors and associate professors, and 30,000 students from over 100 countries.
From two campuses (North and City), we now have a third campus in Manukau (South Campus), opened in 2010, and three specialist facilities – the AUT Centre for Refugee Education, the Radio Astronomy Observatory at Warkworth, and AUT Millennium, our internationally recognised centre for research and education in sport, wellness and community health.
Derek McCormack, Vice-Chancellor says with all this remarkable progress, change and transformation, AUT has never-the-less retained a core characteristic from its history, and that is opportunity.
“We remain student-centred, community-minded and partnership-oriented, and as the first university to have a presence in South Auckland, South Campus is a prime example of this.
“This campus serves a community that is historically severely underrepresented at university level, and AUT is proud to be making a difference with an enrolment of around 3000 students, many of whom are the first in their family at university, studying towards their degrees.”
In 2019, AUT made the decision to formally celebrate 20 years as a university with a series of events and activities in the following year, including a book to commemorate AUT’s 20 years as a university.
However, as we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic put most of those plans to rest. But the book stayed alive, and through all sorts of unforeseen difficulties and delays, the editorial team kept their sights on the outcome.
After many iterations, and with the help and support from countless people, the book From There to Here: Celebrating 20 Years was produced, capturing the University’s success in a way that hasn’t been done before.
Organised into three distinct parts that explore AUT’s past, present and future, the book doesn’t need to be read in a linear fashion. Rather it can be read in whatever way appeals to the reader.
Derek says this is not a history book; it’s been designed to describe AUT at a point in time, with nods and acknowledgements to our past and to our future. The book brings together the many facets that make AUT the university it is today, and it unashamedly records our successes over the last 20 years.
“While publishing this book has been a considerable project that many did not believe we would complete, and it is a publication we are duly proud of, the real celebration is for the story it contains – the outstanding efforts of our staff and our students to make AUT the university it is today,” says Derek.
On Thursday 24 June, staff who contributed to the book and those who had completed 20 years or more service, along with alumni and external guests, were invited to an event to celebrate the book launch.
Over 200 people attended the book launch event, held in the WA foyer in City Campus, many of whom reminiscing about the old days and catching up with old friends.
Among the guests was Dr. John Hinchcliff who commenced as Principal at Auckland Technical Institute (ATI) in 1984 and became AUT’s first Vice-Chancellor from 2000 to 2004.
John led the charge for Auckland Institute of Technology (AIT) to become a university. Over 16 years, the dream of ATI and then AIT becoming a university was never far from John’s thoughts, and our ultimate achievement of that goal is due to his unwavering commitment.
Derek then welcomed the guests and invited two guests to speak.
First was AUT alumni Jessica Tyson, who graduated with a Bachelor of Communication majoring in journalism in 2014. Jess is Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi and is currently a journalist at Māori Television. In 2018 she founded the Brave Charitable Trust, which works to raise awareness about sexual violence affecting young people in Aotearoa. Jess was also crowned Miss World New Zealand in 2018.
Second was Professor Welby Ings, who joined AUT in 1994, and talked about both our polytechnic heritage and our university years. Welby was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence in 2002 and in 2013 he was awarded AUT’s inaugural University Medal for his leadership and contributions in teaching and research.
You can purchase your copy of the book via the AUT Bookshop for $45.00 (GST inclusive).
Thank you for your support.
Jamie Max and Dr. John Hinchcliff
Jeanie Burnside, Dr. Andrew Codling, Lucy Handford, and Sophie Buchan
Associate Professor Dong-Xu Liu and Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack
Chancellor Rob Campbell and Professor Edwina Pio