Our history

Since its humble beginnings in 1968, our faculty has grown and continues to do so today. Follow our journey here.

Establishment of the faculty

From small beginnings, we have transformed medical education and health care in New Zealand and beyond.

In 1968 the University of Auckland’s School of Medicine opened its doors to receive the first intake of 60 students. Since then our institution has developed into the multidisciplinary Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, with many thousands of students training in nursing, pharmacy, medical imaging, audiology, optometry, public health and medical science, with robust research profiles across all these areas.

Health initiatives at Tāmaki

In 2004, a building project for the Population Health complex was under way at Tāmaki Campus and opened later that year. This marked a significant step for our School of Population Health, previously housed in a number of locations.

At the time of its opening it accommodated a large cohort of staff and students from our faculty, working in areas relating to community and population health. There was a strong emphasis on Māori and Pacific health. The proximity of different researchers and vibrancy of interests gave rise to many collaborative – and collegial – opportunities, including the first of its co-locators, Phonak New Zealand Ltd and NZ Guidelines Group.

The Centre for Asian Health Research Evaluation also took up residence at Tāmaki. With a strong focus on the health issues of Asian and other ethnic minority communities in New Zealand, it sought to develop strategic ways to improve and visualise the health status of this fast-growing population as well as collaborate with Asian and other ethnic minority communities, business, local government, and ministries to produced further research in the areas of Asian and other ethnic minority health.

Developments at Grafton

Over the past years we have opened the award-winning AMRF Medical Sciences Learning Centre - Whakaaro Pai, seen significant enhancement of our Advanced Clinical Skills Centre at Mercy Ascot Hospital, and commissioned a suite of new teaching rooms and a large integrated teaching facility.

Centre for Brain Research

In 2009, the faculty opened the Centre for Brain Research, one of the largest neuroscience research facilities in the Southern Hemisphere. These resources will enable our students to fully experience the rewards of learning and researching in a world-class academic, medical and health sciences environment.

Grafton Campus Redevelopment

The faculty now boasts some of the world’s most up-to-date research and laboratory facilities, having completed a huge $240 million redevelopment of our Grafton Campus through 2012.

As well as providing our students and staff with some of the world’s most modern research laboratories and support spaces, this redevelopment allows our researchers to better collaborate across the faculty and across the University on a thematic basis. Traditional divisions between departments have been replaced with theme-based research while open-plan, multidisciplinary teaching and research spaces have been created, radically transforming the way more than 4,000 students and 1,500 staff go about their work.

Tāmaki Campus relocation

In April 2016, the University of Auckland made a large and financially strategic announcement – the sale, in two stages, of the 11-hectare Tāmaki Innovation Campus to Tāmaki Village Limited, as part of the University's strategy to consolidate its activities and make more efficient use of its resources.

However, the sale of the campus did not mean immediate withdrawal. Rather, there would be a staged approach over a number of years, relocating activities to other campuses.

The Optometry Clinic moved to Grafton in 2017, whilst in February 2018 the Cochlear Implant Clinic moved offsite to Campbell Road’s Hearing House.

The School of Population Health, National Institute of Health Innovation and the Simulation Centre for Patient Safety were the last to move from Tāmaki to Grafton, with an official closure and emotional farewell in October 2019 and a final formal ‘un-blessing’ of the campus at the end of 2019.

Images from the farewell event

Faculty history project

To commemorate our faculty's 50th anniversary in 2018, we established a website detailing the history of our faculty. 

This was led by Professor Linda Bryder from the Department of History, working with medical historian Dr Derek Dow and website content by Martin Bryder Dow. With support from our faculty, current and former staff, a Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund grant, and postgraduate students within the Department of History, we collected a large amount of oral and archival material and presented it in an accessible and entertaining format. It is a fascinating mixture of pictures, audio clips and text collected between 1968 - 2018.