New labs to support New Zealand research

22 November 2018

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, and the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, the Hon Dr Megan Woods, today opened Plant & Food Research’s new laboratories in Mt Albert after a four-year redevelopment project.

The Mt Albert Research Centre in Auckland is the largest of Plant & Food Research’s New Zealand sites, and is home to more than 350 staff. Over the past four years, the seven-storey Hamilton Building – the largest building on the site – and several other buildings have undergone significant redevelopment to ensure Plant & Food Research can continue to deliver high quality science for New Zealand’s plant and marine-based food industries.

The Hamilton Building was originally opened in 1973, and was named for William Hamilton, Director General of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) from 1953 to 1971. Since opening, few significant development had been made to the building and many of the facilities were in need of upgrade. The $49 million redevelopment included investment in four floors of purpose-built laboratories and two floors of collaborative office and meeting space in the Hamilton Building; redevelopment of the Cunningham Building to include extensive social and formal meeting spaces in the heart of the campus; and purpose-built office and consumer research facilities in the Padfield Building.

During the visit, the Prime Minister also named the new Plant & Food Research Pou whenua. The Pou whenua, or land post, signifies the relationship between Plant & Food Research, the crops grown, and the land that supports crop production. Te Pou Whakairo Ahumāra Kai has been carved by master carvers Dennis Conway and Lenard Phillips.

“This redevelopment has been a huge project, but the result – the new high-quality, purpose-built facilities of the Hamilton, Cunningham and Padfield buildings – will allow us to deliver more and better science for our partners and New Zealand,” says David Hughes, CEO of Plant & Food Research. “The Mt Albert Research Centre is a key site in our New Zealand network, housing close to 200 scientists and 150 general staff, about 30% of our total workforce. These staff members work with teams across New Zealand to deliver research that supports the sustainable production of plant and marine-based food products.

“Our science supports New Zealand’s leading companies to create new products and production systems that meet consumer demands and command a premium in the global marketplace. Through a combination of fundamental and applied science, much of which has connections to our Mt Albert Research Centre, we will deliver a smart, green future for our industries, for New Zealand and the world.”

Contact:
Emma Timewell
Communications Manager, Corporate Communications,
Plant & Food Research Mt Albert,
120 Mt Albert Road, Sandringham
Auckland, 1025, New Zealand
EMail: media@plantandfood.co.nz
Telephone: +64-9-925 8692
Mobile: +64-21-2429 365

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