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Judith Kinnear

Judith Kinnear

Geneticist (1939 - )

The first woman to head a New Zealand university, Judith Kinnear led Massey University from 2003-2008. Kinnear had moved from Australia, where back in the 1970s she had been a lecturer in biology at Melbourne State College. Kinnear became interested in computer modelling, but the mathematicians at her work told her that the only people who should have any interest in computers were mathematicians. Kinnear bought a personal computer – which the salesman suggested would be useful in the kitchen for storing recipes – and began programming herself. She took a computer programming course and went on to make educational software such as CATLAB, a programme with which students could simulate crosses of differently coloured cats.

Kinnear coauthored the award-winning Nature of Biology series and rose to the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Sydney before moving to Massey.


“Dr Judith Kinnear | Swinburne University of Technology,” accessed February 3, 2018, http://www.swinburne.edu.au/about/our-university/25-years/challengers/dr-judith-kinnear/.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.