Auckland Computer Centre

1967 saw a media fascination with the BNZ Computer Centres. Interest was sparked by the rapidly growing new industry where the rules of gender were not so ingrained. 

Republished in the banks own Staff News magazine, the New Zealand Herald feature, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ focused attention on the women staffing the Auckland Computer Centre.

The article noted that 20 women were employed at the Auckland Computer Centre alone, with a similar centre also operating in Wellington. It highlighted employment incentives including attractive pay rates, meal and taxi allowances.

For many women, the computer centres were a welcome alternative to waitressing with evening hours allowing for the uptake of secondary employment. Many of the women interviewed shared the savings ambitions that motivated their long work days. These included marriage and travel abroad.

Reflecting social changes of the time, recruitment brochures are perhaps a better measure of the impact computers have had on employment culture. In the early 1960s, salaries for banking roles were listed beneath vastly different descriptions of employment options for men and women. Whole pages were dedicated to the opportunities available for male staff.

 In contrast to this,  ‘A Career in Computers’ 1971, published by the NZ Computer Society, weaved the contributions of both men and women throughout listed career options. Advertised roles included ‘Data Input Operators’, ‘Computer Operators’, ‘Programmers’ and ‘Systems Analysts’.  In the example of 'Programmers', a description of the necessary skills is given followed by the statement, "Both men and women are suited to this type of work and salaries up to $5,000pa are common."

Today banks are one of the many industries working to support diversity and gender equality in the tech industry.

A Career in Computers pg 2a

A Career in Computers c1971

Girls of computer centre Staff News June 1967 2 of 2img

Two women employed at the Auckland Computer Centre

Girls of computer centre Staff News June 1967 1 of 2 sml

'Beauty and the Beast' first ran in the NZ Herald in 1967.