Great graduates – a look throughout the years

AUT’s history as a teaching institution stretches back 125 years. Since opening its doors as Auckland Technical School in 1895, graduates have left equipped with practical skills needed by industry, and a willingness to contribute to their local and global communities.

Alumni from AUT
AUT’s successful alumni include Bruce McLaren, Ingrid Starnes, Eden More and Craig Fernandes

Since becoming a university in 2000, AUT is now the country’s second-largest university, producing over 100,000 graduates in the last two decades alone.

AUT Director of Alumni Engagement Sam Mickell says the impact of AUT’s great graduates is significant given the short time AUT has been a university.

“Regardless of their field of study, a common theme my team sees amongst our alumni is the leadership, innovation and practicality they bring to industry and the wider community. It is really exciting given their relatively young age, and how their impact is likely to grow in the future.”

Take a look at some AUT graduates across the years, from those who are world-renowned leaders to those in the early stages of their careers.

Bruce McLaren

1950s, Mechanical Engineering, Seddon Memorial Technical College

After studying mechanical engineering at Seddon in the 1950s, Bruce McLaren went on to motor racing and won a Grand Prix at the age of 22. At the time Bruce became the youngest ever Formula One winner – a Guinness World Record that stood for over 40 years. The legacy of the remarkable innovation he brought to motorsport lives on in the Formula One team and Supercar brand that bears his name.

Sir Ken Stevens

1950s, Mechanical Engineering, Seddon Memorial Technical College

Sir Ken Stevens founded airport baggage handling technology company Glidepath. Glidepath is a worldwide industry leader and you will find their machines in most airports around the world. Now in his 80’s, Ken retained 100% ownership of Glidepath and recently sold the business to a French robotics company. Ken is also the former chairman of Export New Zealand.

Sir Peter Blake

1960s, Engineering, ATI

New Zealand yachting icon Sir Peter Blake won every significant bluewater yachting race in the world including winning and defending the America’s Cup. His passion for the environment lives on in The Blake Foundation which continues his legacy of environmental leadership.

Sir Stephen Tindall

1980s, Management, ATI

Sir Stephen Tindall is the founder of retail giant The Warehouse Group, investment vehicle K1W1, and philanthropic foundation the Tindall Foundation. Since 1995, the Tindall Foundation has given over $187 million to support community initiatives. Alongside Sir Graeme Avery, Sir Stephen also co-founded what is now AUT Millennium.

Ian Wright

1970s, Electrical Engineering, ATI

Alongside Elon Musk, Ian Wright co-founded Tesla Motors. After exiting Tesla, Ian founded Wrightspeed, an electric vehicle company focused on the transport sector. Ian’s numerous other achievements include developing the world’s fastest street-legal electric car in 2005.

Dale Murray CBE

1990s, Business/Management, AIT

Dale Murray CBE grew up in South Auckland and attended AIT in the early 1990s. At AIT, a co-op with a major accountancy firm led her into the telecommunications sector. Dale moved to the UK and founded a company which revolutionised pre-pay mobile top-ups in the early 2000s. After advising British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government on business policy, Dale received a Commander of the British Empire award from HM the Queen for services to business.

Chelsea Winstanley

Graduated in 2003 in Communications

Chelsea Winstanley is an award-winning New Zealand film producer and director. She is the producer of What We Do in the Shadows, and most recently, Jojo Rabbit, among other highly successful films.

Ingrid Starnes

Graduated in 2004 in Fashion

Ingrid Starnes is a New Zealand designer whose clothing, skincare and scent range is generating buzz in New Zealand and internationally with products stocked by high end retailers in London, Paris and Tokyo. Ingrid is one of the preferred labels of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Eliot Crowther

Graduated in 2008 in Applied Sciences

Eliot Crowther co-founded Pushpay, a billion-dollar mobile giving and engagement platform which has over 7,000 clients globally. In 2015, Eliot, alongside his co-founder Chris Heaslip, was named New Zealand’s EY Young Entrepreneur of the year.

Dr Lee Mathias ONZM

Graduated in 2009 with a Doctor of Health Science

Dr Lee Mathias ONZM has worked in the health services sector for over 40 years, as a clinician, business owner, consultant, educator and board director. In the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours, Lee was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to health and business.

Craig Fernandes

Graduated in 2016 in Mechanical Engineering

Craig Fernandes is an engineer at New Zealand-founded space company Rocket Lab. For his final-year project at AUT, Craig developed a mechanical and software system that was simulated to save Fonterra over $2 million.

Eden More

Graduated in 2017 in Māori Development

Eden More is a reporter for Te Manu Korihi at Radio New Zealand. Providing news on Māori issues, Te Manu Korihi features in Radio New Zealand National's leading news programmes Morning Report and Checkpoint.

20 years as a university

AUT has a rich institutional history stretching back almost 125 years, and became New Zealand’s eighth university in January 2000.

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