History of the Profession

The early Polynesian settlers of New Zealand who made the long perilous voyages of discovery, were adventurous and, not surprisingly, had entrepreneurial flair.

Centuries later the early European arrivals similarly risked all to settle New Zealand, motivated by adventure and new opportunities. These basic characteristics, combined with a need to devise their own solutions to problems, has led to a New Zealand population characterised by innovation.

Due no doubt to New Zealand’s isolation, European settlers arriving in the 1800s and early 1900s had to be clever to survive and prosper. If they needed something, or if something didn’t work properly, there were few retail options and ordering something in from Great Britain could take months, if not years.

Necessity was the mother of invention as they say, and those that enjoyed the greatest comfort and prosperity tended to be the most innovative or the richest, which often amounted to the same thing. To those who subscribe to Darwinian theory, it should come as no surprise that clever buggers proliferated.

Kiwi innovation is, to the outside world, best recognised in:

  • · the deeds of Lord Ernest Rutherford and Sir Peter Jackson;
  • · in early flying machines, refrigerated shipping, jet boats, jet packs, and disposable hypodermic syringes; and
  • · in innovative horticultural and agricultural practices with its spin off technologies like electric fences, RFID, DNA tagging and so on.

However, for patent attorneys practising in New Zealand, the original innovative spiritis frequently demonstrated by farmers working in isolation and blokes and sheila's in their sheds devising unique solutions and products using a technique which in New Zealand is still held in the highest esteem: No. 8 wire technology.

Given this history, it is not surprising that the need for a patent system was identified early, and in 1860 the New Zealand Patent Office was established under the Patent Act 1860. Just how ‘early’ this was can be appreciated by the fact that just 20 years before, the non-Maori population in New Zealand had barely reached 2,000.

New Zealand’s first patent agent, Henry Hughes, set up the country’s first patent agency in 1882. By 1900, New Zealand had the highest number of patent applications per capita in the world. Perhaps not surprisingly there emerged, in the words of Jasper Baldwin, “considerable competition inseeking business at the expense of some other fellow...and many things were done which were, to say the least, a bit unprofessional”. Against this background the New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys was formed in 1912 through the efforts of Henry Hampton Raymond, and its first meeting held on the auspicious date of 3 July 1912 in Wellington.

Since 1912 the Institute has made a significant contribution to the New Zealand economy by:

  • Educating and guiding businesses on IP matters;
  • Encouraging innovators to establish ownership over their intangible assets and optimise the returns from their ideas through effective IP exploitation; and
  • Providing guidance to Government and making countless submissions on IP laws.

Our Fellows are also registered as patent attorneys with effect in Australia following the 2017 implementation of the Trans-Tasman patent attorney regime that provides a single system of accreditation, registration and professional regulation of patent attorneys in both countries.

The NZIPA has always been a small body. It is clear therefore that, like New Zealand as a country, the Institute has been punching well above its weight for over a hundred years.

On this page we record some of the milestones and history of the NZIPA. We always welcome receiving additional information. If you have anything useful to add please email it to: secretary@nzipa.org.nz

Past Presidents

Years Name
Nov 17 to
Penny Catley
Nov 15 to Nov 17
Corinne Cole
Nov 13 to Nov 15 Logan O'Callahan
Nov 11 to Nov 13 Ian Finch
Nov 09 to Nov 11 Tim Jackson
Nov 07 to Nov 09 Frank Callus
Nov 05 to Nov 07 Greg West-Walker
Nov 03 to Nov 05 Julie Ballance
Nov 01 to Nov 03 Keith Thomson
Nov 99 to Nov 01 Ceri Wells
Nov 97 to Nov 99 Bryan Thompson
Nov 95 to Nov 97 Denis Tuffery
Nov 93 to Nov 95 Margaret Doucas
Nov 91 to Nov 93 Doug Calhoun
Nov 89 to Nov 91 Mike Hawkins
1987 to Nov 89 Colin Woodroffe
Nov 86 to 1987 David Sutton
Nov 84 to Nov 86 Phil McCabe
Nov 82 to Nov 84 Don Hopkins
Nov 80 to Nov 82 Tom Syddall
Nov 78 to Nov 80 Jonty Ellis
Aug 76 to Nov 78 Bill Howie
Aug 74 to Aug 76 John Remington
Aug 72 to Aug 74 Frank Healy
Jul 1912 to GW Bazley


AJ Park & Son
This newsletter was produced in Oct 1991 to celebrate 100 years of AJ Park & Son


Memo re: Mr J D K Hunter

Memo re: Mr William Anthony (Bill) Hellberg

These memos were written by Frank Healy in April 1982

Memo re: the Firm of Higgs & O'Donnell

This memo was written by Frank Healy in April 1982


This I remember

This paper was written by Bonita Stewart (later Torrance), the first woman admitted to NZIPA.


A History of the Patent Profession in New Zealand

This paper was written by Jasper Baldwin and presented at the NZIPA Annual Meeting in August 1976


A Short Historical Outline of the Patent Attorney Profession and its Progress in New Zealand

This paper was prepared by JT Hunter of Henry Hughes Limited in 1952 and was ready by JD Hunter at an Institute Dinner in the year. It is reproduced by courtesy of Henry Hughes Limited.


IPONZ Register of Patent Agents

This is a workbook from IPONZ from 1926 - 1954 recording Patents Agents registration.

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