The 1950s were a difficult period in the history of the University of Auckland: the roll had soared after World War II, reaching 4000 by 1959, and buildings were inadequate and overcrowded.
However, despite these problems, there was significant progress. In 1962, the abolition of the University of New Zealand saw the University finally become independent.
New subjects such as Geography, Anthropology, Maori Studies, and Fine Arts were introduced, and there was a new focus on staff research. Many of the new and younger academics became very active researchers, as evidenced by the growing lists of staff publications. Staff salaries were raised and for the first time students were given generous bursaries, resulting in a rapid increase in the proportion of full-time students.
The University undertook a massive building programme, and over the next two decades the campus was transformed as one large building after another was erected. By the end of the 1960s the University of Auckland had the largest university library in New Zealand.
New teaching subjects were introduced, including Political Studies, Art History and Sociology, and in 1968 teaching commenced in the new Medical School.
The academic boom of the sixties continued well into the seventies, and by 1970 there were 9300 students. Council focus shifted to a desire to increase student facilities, which ultimately resulted in the acquisition of a theatre, a large gymnasium and recreation centre, and a playing field complex.
The University was also quick to accept the challenges of new technological advancements of the era, introducing new subjects such as Management Studies and Computer Science.
The 1970s also brought numerous social changes, such as an increase in the proportion of Maori and Polynesian students and the numbers of female and mature students. In the years 1975-81 the first two female professors were appointed: Marie Clay and Patricia Bergquist.