A history of NZAO through the decades

1897-01-01 00:00:00


Mr A Levi set up as a consulting and manufacturing optician in Wellington - he was quickly associated with others establishing firms across NZ.

1912-02-01 02:15:53

An Association is born

On February 1, in Wellington, a small group formed the New Zealand Optical Association. This small beginning went into recess during World War I.

1922-03-01 01:36:18

The Association is revived

The association was revived and became the Institute of Optometrists of New Zealand Inc. There was a substantial voluntary membership, an entrance exam of no mean scope and an annual conference.

1925-10-01 00:00:00

Annual Conference

The 1925 conference was held in Dunedin

1926-10-01 00:01:48


Optometry in NZ was unregulated when the original association was formed in 1912. Active lobbying in the 1920’s resulted in optometry to become a legislated and regulated occupation by 1928.

1928-10-09 16:43:41

The Opticians Act

The Opticians Act was passed into law – ‘..an optician is a person who might employ any methods for the estimation of errors of refraction of the human eye to prescribe or adapt lenses to correct such errors.’ The Act gave legal force to the use of the word ‘optician’ and the word ‘optometrist’ became redundant and illegal.

1929-11-02 14:09:32

The 34 Founding Members

1930-01-10 00:00:00

Liquidation and Rebirth

In order to comply with the new Opticians Act, the Institute was liquidated to form the Institute of Opticians of New Zealand (Incorporated). Mr SF McLean of Wellington was the first member on 10 January, 1930 paying a subscription of one guinea and sixpence. By the end of the first year there were 83 members.

1940-10-01 09:43:59

Annual Conference

1940s Annual Conference was held in Wellington

1949-10-01 16:56:06

Annual Conference

A history of NZAO through the decades

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