Learn about our history and discover our innovation achievements. For more than 100 years we have pioneered new technologies, spun-out companies and contributed to society.


From wireless power transfer to developing the digital human, we are proud to be New Zealand’s most innovative university.


“A Century of Chemistry at the University of Auckland” by R.C. Cambie and B.R. Davis

The University of Auckland was formally opened on 23 May as Auckland University College, part of the University of New Zealand.


Prof APW Thomas received his first professional commission from industry – the Bay of Islands Coal Mining Company

“A Century of Chemistry at the University of Auckland” by R.C. Cambie and B.R. Davis


“A Century of Chemistry at the University of Auckland” by R.C. Cambie and B.R. Davis

Chemist James Scott Maclaurin was awarded a doctorate (DSc) for stablishing that oxygen was necessary for the dissolution of gold, an internationally significant discovery that formed the basis for much subsequent work on the cyanide process for gold extraction.


Auckland School of Mining opened.


Kathleen Curtis graduated from the University with an MA in botany. She described diseases that were directly threatening the horticulture industry and evaluated sprays and fertilisers for their control.


Colin Fraser (who obtained a Master of Science in Geology in 1906 from the University) knighted in Australia for services to mining and industry, including assisting the founding of the zinc-refining, hardwood pulp and paper, and aircraft industries, in reviving gold-mining and extending silverlead smelting, copper products and paints industries.


Heather Nicholson (née Halcrow) studied geology at Auckland University College. She produced a geological map of Waiheke Island, near Auckland, for her MSc thesis in 1953. This involved many weeks of field work. No jobs were available for women in geology in those days, so she worked as a science teacher. On retirement she returned to Auckland University and completed a PhD on New Zealand greywackes in 2003 – exactly 50 years after completing her masters degree.


ANAC Ltd (a company formed from the department of Physics) created a new category of machine and components manufacturing silicon chips, an industry now dominated by Buckley Systems the world’s largest maker of large high performance electromagnets.


Philippa Black studied geology at the University of Auckland. She has published pioneering papers on the geology of Northland and New Caledonia, and has worked in the fields of mineralogy, coal petrology and rock properties.


Amsacrine a novel treatment for Cancer developed at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC) was launched by Pfizer.


Developed by the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, the anti-cancer drug Asulacrine, was launched by Pfizer.


UniServices established as the University’s commercialisation and technology transfer company.


Inductive power transfer (IPT) technology developed by the University was licensed to Daifuku enabling the creation of a new industry category of factory automation for clean rooms fuelling the manufacturing of silicon chips, flat panel displays and touch screens.


‘Cyclic Wave Energiser’ a step change in electric fencing was developed for leading New Zealand Agritech Company TruTest.

A wind tunnel helped Team New Zealand win the America’s Cup with novel sail and mast designs.


Canertinib, a novel EGFR Inhibitor for the treatment of various cancers was launched by Pfizer.


NZ’s $30 million global clinical stroke trial for the World Health Organisation, Servier and International Society of Hypertension.


A world-leading Light Metals Research Centre launched.

UniServices and dairy exporter Fonterra launched LactoPharma to discover what contributes to the many health benefits of milk.


Spark, the University Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme launched.


Revolutionary, research-based learning assessment software system asTTle launched.

University of Auckland spin-out company Neuren Pharmaceuticals listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

Spin-out company PowerbyProxi was formed to develop wireless power technology for consumer electronic devices.


The Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging launched.


Spinout company Proacta raised more than NZ$52 million to develop unique anti-cancer technology.

The International consortium EpiGen launched, applying the science of neonatal nutrition to infant food development.


PowerbyProxi a spin-out company was formed to develop wireless power technology for consumer electronic devices.


A joint Korea-University healthcare robotics laboratory launched.

‘Growing up in New Zealand’, our country’s most comprehensive longitudinal study, funded by a wide range of government agencies began.

Anti cancer drug DMXAA entered PhaseIII clinical trials across 1,000 patients worldwide, and licensed to Novartis for $890 million.

A new AUD$30 million Trans Tasman Commercialisation Fund (TTCF) set up to support innovation.

Anti cancer drug DMXAA entered Phase III clinical trials across 1,000 patients worldwide, and licensed to Novartis for $890 million.

A spin-out company HaloIPT was formed to develop Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles.


Test Bed for Health Technologies created, positioning New Zealand as a western world laboratory to test new assistive health technologies.

Launched the New Zealand Innovation Index with IBM’s  sponsorship.


HaloIPT won the Clean Equity Monaco award for ‘Excellence in the Field of Environmental Technology Research’.

The Centre for Microbial Innovation, the Centre for Applied Economic Research, Wind Measurement Technologies, and Kumanu an industry partnering programme for technology to improve care for seniors, were launched.

A world first clinical trial of 35 healthcare robots from Korea.

The Photon Factory launched – an advanced, multi-user pulsed laser facility.


Interactive simulations including a ‘live’ computer-generated baby driven by neurobehavioural models were developed at Dr Sagar’s new Laboratory for Animate Technologies.

Auckland Bioengineering Institute developed electronic solution for artificial muscles made of stretchy rubber that can be made into sensors, power generators and actuators.

ACSRC cancer drug PR610 went to clinical trial in United States and New Zealand.

IPT, the technology which allows electric cars to be charged wirelessly, hit the streets of London as part of an electric car trial.


SPARX, a computer programme for adolescent depression, won an international digital award from UNESCO’s Netexplo in Paris.


MIT Skoltech Initiative University Innovation Ecosystem Benchmark Report identified the University of Auckland as one of the world’s top five “emerging leaders in entrepreneurship” expected to become a major international innovation powerhouse in the decades ahead.


Spark, the University Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme, is renamed Velocity.


The University of Auckland Innovation Institute China was established.

Spinout company Engender Technologies commercialised technology to improve sorting of sperm by sex for the dairy industry.


UniServices and the University of Auckland partnered with an American drug development company to launch SapVax, a biotech start up which develops novel cancer vaccines.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially opens Unleash Space, student innovation hub and maker space.

UniServices celebrates 30 years of bringing ideas to life.