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University of Auckland Wins Overall Innovation Award

Media release
9 October 2012

University of Auckland Wins Overall Innovation Award at the 2012 Microsoft Tertiary Ict Innovation Awards

The University of Auckland took out the Overall Innovation Award at the recent 2012 Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards in Christchurch.

The University was awarded for its leadership of the Tuakiri New Zealand Access Federation, a service that supports research collaboration across the country’s universities, polytechnics and Crown Research Institutes.

Led by The University of Auckland, with project partners University of Canterbury and Landcare Research New Zealand, Tuakiri is currently in use in New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes, and will look to be implemented in other educational institutes and polytechnics across the country.

Elizabeth Coulter, Director of the University’s IT Services and President of Tuakiri, said the project was a first for New Zealand and aligns well with the New Zealand Government’s ICT strategy.

“Tuakiri allows institutions to use their home login, with a single sign-on using a username and password, giving them access to an ever growing number of national and international resources. This process eliminates the need to create multiple local accounts and simplifies access to online resources, both on-campus and off-campus, across different institutions and service providers. “

Held at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology as part of the 30th Annual Tertiary ICT Conference, the Microsoft Innovation Awards celebrate ICT excellence within the tertiary education sector. The two categories for the 2012 awards were Innovation in Integrating Everything for the Organisation and Innovation in Integrating Everything for Students – with the submissions focused on a range of innovations, from processes designed to improve efficiency or effectiveness of services, through to new products aimed at enabling educators and students to reach their full potential.

Evan Blackman, Education Manager at Microsoft New Zealand says it is hugely satisfying to see these education institutes leading the way in the implementation of innovative ICT services which directly enable better outcomes for the institution, its staff and its students.

“The conference theme for this year, ‘Integrating everything’, highlighted a transition in the education sector where ICT inclusion in everyday organisational activity is no longer a lofty goal but rather an expected function.”

“The Awards are an exciting opportunity to celebrate the outstanding technology innovation we are seeing in the New Zealand tertiary education sector. The calibre and quality of the submissions this year was very impressive – more and more we see ICT used to enhance institutional effectiveness and learning experiences, and we hope these awards will continue to encourage others in the sector to make the most of what technology has to offer.”

The University of Auckland; Tuakiri, New Zealand Access Federation Inc. received the Microsoft Innovation Award trophy and $10,000 of Microsoft Consulting Services in recognition of its cutting edge work.

Victoria University was awarded the People’s Choice Award for its work with its Ideas on Wheels project.

The two category winners were:
Innovation in Integrating Everything for the Organisation – Otago Polytechnic for its Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse project
Innovation in Integrating Everything for Students – University of Auckland for its Mobile Application for Students

The Microsoft Innovation Awards is another example of Microsoft’s commitment to the education sector. Other initiatives include the Partners in Learning programme, local tertiary education alliances and leading software solutions designed to facilitate learning through the use of ICT.


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

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