May 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the installation of the first digital computer in a New Zealand University. This was an IBM 1620, purchased in 1962 by the University of Canterbury. It weighed about 800 Kg and cost as much as 10 average houses. The Canterbury 1620 was only the third digital computer to arrive in New Zealand, after the Reserve Bank and New Zealand Railways computers. By 1964 there were 19 computers in New Zealand.
To mark the 50th anniversary, a celebration was held in the Britten building (formerly NZI3), featuring displays of the early equipment and stories from some of the users of the 1620.
A picture of some of the original users of the IBM 1620 at the anniversary celebration. From left to right, we have: Bruce Moon (First Director of the Computer Centre), Ward Robinson, Rod Syme, Alan Causer, Bruce Penfold, Robin Harrington, Reg Dunlop (obscured by John De Labere), John De Labere (obscuring Reg), Archie Ross, Graham Fraser (obscured by Archie & Athol), Athol Carr