The formation of the Massey University Food Technology Department could be said to go back to the times of Dr J C Andrews.
Dr Jack C Andrews M.Sc Ph.D FRIC FNZIC AMIChemE was the first Ph.D graduate in Science at the Auckland University College. He joined R. & W. Hellaby Ltd and became responsible for establishing their works laboratory. For about eight years he was chief chemist and quickly became a meat technologist and he undertook research in meat dehydration during the war.
In 1939 Dr Andrews was the chairman of the Auckland Branch of the NZ Association and he proposed that the first conference on food technology in New Zealand be held in association with the New Zealand Centennial Celebrations in 1940. Unfortunately the war intervened.
During the war Dr Andrews visited the United States a number of times and so established the first real links between food technologists in New Zealand and the United States.
In 1945 Dr J C Andrews was the President of the NZ Institute of Chemistry and he took as the theme for his Presidential Address the topic “Food and Food Technology” saying:
“I hope the day is not far distant when a Chair in Food Technology can be established by the University of New Zealand. When one considers the importance of Foodstuffs in the national economy of New Zealand, it is a cause of wonder to me that such a Chair has not been established earlier.” He also said “There is a great need for more fundamental knowledge of foodstuffs which will bring in its train a new approach and radical alterations in the methods adopted for their preservation. If we have the will to apply ourselves to the task, not only can we assist in the solution of world food problems, but also improve our own diet.”
However it was twenty years before such a Chair was established at Massey University.
Jack Ward, senior lecturer in dairy technology and Garth Wallace senior lecturer in dairy chemistry felt that the teaching in dairy technology was not broad enough for the developing needs of the industry. They were able to convince some influential members of the Professorial Board and the Chancellor of the University, the very same Dr J C Andrews.
Thus the Department of Food Technology was formed in 1961 when Kelvin Scott was appointed Foundation Professor of Food Technology.
Dr J C Andrews opened the first Food Technology Conference in May 1964.
Dr JC Andrews was elected the first member of NZIFST at the May 1966 NZIFST AGM.
On the 27th October 1964 Dr Andrews writes to Professor J K Scott and comments “Enclosed please find my cheque made out to you personally to cover my application for membership of the NZ Institute of Food Science and Technology. I do appreciate your suggestion that I should be the first member, but felt that in all fairness the honour should be yours. This Institute would never have been formed but for your efforts.”
Dr Andrews died at the end 1966.
At the 1967 Massey University Conference of Food Technology Dr Garth Wallace presented the inaugural J. C. Andrews Memorial Address. This was printed in Food Technology in New Zealand, September 1967.
Contributed by Ron Hooker FNZIFST. Ron Hooker attended the very early Food Technology conferences, served on the NZIFST Council for two different periods, was the foundation chairman of the Canterbury Branch of NZIFST and was the NZIFST Executive Secretary for a number of years. He is currently still the (shared) Secretary of the Canterbury Branch NZIFST since the foundation of the branch.