Massey honours food pioneers

An indomitable duo considered pioneers of New Zealand's food industry have been awarded Massey University's highest honour.

Husband and wife, Professors Emeriti Mary and Dick Earle each received a Massey Medal at the FoodTech 50 symposium, which celebrates 50 years of the university offering the Bachelor of Food Technology, in Palmerston North yesterday.

Alumni, lecturers, industry leaders and international guests gathered at Massey's Manawatu campus to honour the Earles.

The couple were called "ground-breaking", "revolutionary" and "visionary" by their peers, with former pupils saying the Earles shaped their passion for the food industry.

The pair are highly respected nationally and internationally for their work on product development, biotechnology and developing food technology courses in New Zealand and overseas.

They have each earned a number of prestigious awards and fellowships, including Mary being awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1993 and Dick an officer in 2008.

They have also established a number of scholarships for students and continue to publish food technology literature.

Dick Earle said the couple were honoured by the recognition but wanted to remember those who they had worked with during their 30-plus years at the university.

"It's essential to acknowledge this is not done by me or Mary alone, it was very much a whole team of people here at Massey who set up what was a technology venture which was really unlike any other in the world."

The Earles were an essential part of the fabric in making Massey's food technology offerings what they are today, vice-chancellor Steve Maharey said. "When we talk about our achievements over the last 50 years, we all know we got here because of wonderful people like the Earles."

Manawatu Standard