CHEMMAT 50th Anniversary Celebration: CHEMMAT Gold 1967-2017 Event as iCalendar

17 February 2017

Venue: OGGB 4, Owen G Glenn Building

Location: 12 Grafton Road


Event Summary

Close to 100 Chemical and Materials Engineering alumni converged upon the University of Auckland's Owen G. Glenn Building to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Department. 

Guests were treated to a series of presentations that took them through the decades of Chemical and Materials Engineering, from the revolts of the 70s to the cutting-edge technology we see today. Presenters included Merv Jones, Mark Taylor, Brent Young, John Chen, and Ashvin Thambyah, who each led a panel of alumni from their chosen decade.

Head of Department Professor Brent Young spoke about the new Chemical and Materials curriculum, which focuses on identifying graduate attributes, then developing the curriculum to achieve them. He had the opportunity to speak with many alumni throughout the course of the day to get their input on this important task, and has used their feedback as the curriculum is developed. 

After the presentations, guests went on to a three-course dinner, where they were able to catch up and reminisce. 

Professor Young hopes that this event will mark the start of many future Chemical and Materials Engineering celebrations and reunions, and wishes to thank all those who attended.


CHEMMAT Gold Class Gift

Thank you for attending the CHEMMAT Gold reunion on Friday, 17 February. We hope you enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and colleagues; it was great to hear so many stories about your time with our department!

Photo gallery


The Department of Chemicals and Materials Engineering celebrated its 50th Anniversary on Friday, 17 February 2017. Over 130 alumni attended our anniversary day and celebration dinner.

The day programme revolved around engaging discussion sessions featuring alumni from all decades in each panel. This was followed by an informal/smart casual dinner/mix and mingle session at the Fale


Event programme



Brent Young, HoD


George Ferguson, previous HoD
9.40 -10.25AM

The 70s was a decade of revolution, signalled by a spirit of change, rebellion and a new awakening. People of that generation were one of a kind.

What has happened to that rebel spirit in today’s world? How important is this question in regards to the desperately needed innovation-driven economy that is crucial to New Zealand’s future?

MERV JONES, Norm Clark, John Cunningham, Rob Kirkpatrick, Peter Lee, Bruce Marks, David Russell 
10.25 - 10.55AM


10.55 - 11.40AM

Confronted by the structural realities of Thatcherism, Reaganomics and Rogernomics, the 80s signalled dramatic changes in many Western economies.

How did the industry suffer or benefit from the new economic policies that arose in the 80s? Since then – and in retrospect – has the capitalist, neo-liberal wave been good for engineering practice?

MARK TAYLOR, Alison Andrew, Paul Collins, Jane Cutler, Tina Hall-Turner, Peter Slane
11.40AM - 12.25PM

Without a doubt, the 90s marked the advent of the internet age. This prompted major changes in almost every aspect of daily living, including teaching and learning.

How has the internet revolution influenced engineering education and practice? What challenges were presented by the rapidly advancing technology, and what does the future hold for the way an engineer is trained and expected to function?

BRENT YOUNG, Mike Hollewand, Kristine Hulse, Thomas Hyde
12.25 - 2.15PM


2.15PM - 3PM

DECADE FOUR: The 2000s
The turn of the century introduced us to the realities of climate change. This increased our awareness for the need to develop new ways of living, the responsible use of resources, considerations of alternative energy, reduction of the carbon footprint, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.

To what extent is engineering practice responsible in causing and alleviating the effects of climate change?
How are we incorporating new world ideas into our
engineering education and practice?

JOHN CHEN, Blaine Morch, Priyan Perera, Geoff Duffy
3PM - 3.45PM

DECADE FIVE: The 2010s
In recent times, we have witnessed the widespread effects of globalisation. Our ever-connected ways of living have arguably improved the average person’s quality of life – daily routines, products and services are increasingly easily accessible, convenient, and seamless. This however, unleashed new anxieties surrounding global issues such as the competition for cheap labour, fluctuating world markets, and global terrorism.

Should New Zealand embrace, or protect ourselves from globalisation? What are the benefits and what are the risks?

ASHVIN THAMBYAH, Socrates Fernandes, Michael Kligenberg, Israel MacDonald, Kerry Pellet, Matt Proctor


Brent Young, HoD
DINNER (6PM - late)