Formed in 1965, the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology was initially linked to the emerging discipline of food technology at Massey University.
Today the Institute is much more broadly based and truly national. The Institute's membership comprises food technologists and scientists from many disciplines, including Consumer and Applied Science (previously Home Science), Food Science and Food Engineering, as well as Food Technology.
Through the common link of "food manufacturing", the Institute includes people who come from diverse educational backgrounds.
Food technology at Massey University
The discipline of food technology at Massey was officially established in 1960, with the inaugural professor being Kelvin Scott. This extended the earlier Logan Campbell Chair in Dairying.
More about Professor Kelvin Scott
By 1963, Massey University's Council was ready for further innovations, and a new option was added to the Bachelor of Food Technology degree; covering food materials, nutrition, product development and marketing.
(Photo: Opening of the Riddett Building, Massey University, 1966. L-R: Kelvin Scott, Minister of Education Brian Tallboys, Mrs Tallboys, Chancellor Jack Andrews)
Seeds sown for professional organisation
By this time the first food technology students were graduating, but there was no professional organization to which they could belong.
Professor Scott started corresponding with the Institute of Food Technologists (USA).
He then broached the idea of forming a New Zealand organization at New Zealand's first Food Technology Conference, which was run by Massey's Department of Food Technology in May 1964.
Within a month a draft constitution was in circulation, and on 17 September 1964 the draft constitution was agreed, along with the name of the new organization, namely "The New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology".
This was ratified at the 1965 conference. Appropriately, the Institute's first President was Professor Kelvin Scott, with Garth Wallace serving as Secretary/Treasurer.
More about Dr Garth Wallace
The fledgling institute branches out
Not long afterwards, the newly formed Institute became officially affiliated to the Institute of Food Technologists (USA).
Branches of the Institute soon sprang up - Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Wellington in 1966, followed by Canterbury in 1968 and Manawatu in 1972; then Otago/Southland in 1974, East Coast/Poverty Bay in 1977 and Nelson in 1991.
The Institute developed further in 1970, becoming affiliated to the International Union of Food Science and Technology.
The Institute further supported the advancement of science by becoming affiliated to the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1972.
That year also saw the first joint convention of the Australian and New Zealand Institutes of Food Science and Technology, at Surfers Paradise, Queensland.
John Clark Andrews
One of the strongest advocates for establishing a food technology degree was John Clark Andrews, Massey University's first Chancellor. His interest and involvement in food technology had stretched back many years.
In 1945, for example, he had given an address on the topic, as President of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry.
The Institute's prestigious J.C. Andrews Award recognises his crucial role, and is a fitting memorial to Dr Andrews, who died in 1966.
More about Dr J C Andrews
Dr Garth Wallace was the first recipient of the J.C. Andrews Award, while Professor Scott became the Institute's first Fellow.
Emphasis placed on ethics and excellence
In keeping with its role of safeguarding standards in the profession, the Institute introduced a Code of Ethics in 1968.
The Young Technologists Award, an award aimed at promoting the profession of food science and technology, was set up in 1973.
This has been followed by a number of other awards, including several to recognise high-performing students undertaking tertiary educational courses in food science and technology.
From newsletter to journal
The Institute has expanded greatly, and was incorporated in 1969. Its original newsletter, consisting of a few duplicated sheets, was gradually upgraded and by 1981 the newsletter was named The Food Technologist.
In 1999 the journal was renamed the New Zealand Food Journal, then in 2001 it became Food New Zealand. This publication reflects the important role the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology has to play in New Zealand's food industry.