Anthony Dowling, 31st president of ITPNZ, 2020–

Sixty years is a long time for any organisation to exist, yet comparatively we and our industry are merely in our infancy.

The major difference between us and longer-standing organisations and industries is the explosive pace of innovation. The digital advances that our industry provides and their permeation into nearly every facet of human life drives the need for our organisation to grow and develop not only professionals but the profession itself.

IT pioneers of the ’60s set a precedent of learning and excitement that encouraged the innovators of the ’80s, who in turn motivated the visionaries from the start of this century. This exchange of generational learning together with a fundamental platform for growth and development ensures ITP is on track for the future.

As the pre-eminent professional IT membership body in New Zealand, the Institute of IT Professionals has overcome many challenges and there will be many more trials ahead. As we recognise and celebrate the pioneers of our industry we can also learn from them to help us choose the right direction as we move forward.

Technology is no longer ‘becoming a part’ of everyday life, it is now central to everyday life — this makes ITP relevant to every New Zealander. The institute plays an important role advocating for ICT education and professionalism by proactively addressing key issues while aiming to uplift not only our members, but the profession for the benefit of the New Zealand public.

With the rapid advancement of digital technology, we need to ensure the divide between the haves and have nots does not continue to widen, we need to embrace digital inclusion to make certain no one is left behind. As we move into a new decade, we now have a large group of individuals entering their careers who have no experience of a non-digital world. This new generation will drive diversity of thought and ensure representation within our industry is inclusive and provides opportunities for all that wish to enter.

While technology moves at light speed, the people that develop, use, implement and share these advances are essential for its progress. Any successful project manager will agree that even though technology enables, people are the driving factor behind a project’s success. Therefore, it is essential for ITPNZ to provide a solid platform that promotes professionalism, encourages education and facilitates growth and development to ensure our future generations are well prepared to support society.

People are the driving force behind digital advancement, and it will be people that ensure our communities are able to come together. Given the exponential growth rate of technology, the technology of the past 10–20 years is unlikely to age gracefully, yet people can mature and learn providing great foundations for the next generation.

And it is for this reason that we’ve captured some of the stories of tech people during the last 60 years in this book — so we can celebrate the brilliance of many of our pioneers who have contributed to the tech industry directly and indirectly over the last 60 years, while also welcoming a new cohort of brilliant individuals that will set the scene for the 100th celebration of our industry.

This isn’t any ordinary history book; it’s been developed over many years and includes stories compiled during the 25th anniversary in 1985, the 50th anniversary in 2010 and again at this 60th anniversary — brought together to create a compelling and ongoing record of tech innovation in New Zealand.

The great thing about digital technology is that we know that future tech pioneers will produce innovations and provide opportunities we cannot envisage today. They need to, as they will have to address unforeseen dangers and risks in order to protect New Zealanders and the world.

We honour tomorrow’s innovators by recognising those of yesterday, and we hope you’ll enjoy the many great stories of the history of kiwi tech contained in these pages.