Keith Brockelsby

1942 to 1949

Here’s an ex-student with a great life history.  Keith was a scholar of some note – he gained all the normal school qualifications (School Cert, University Entrance and Higher School Certificate).  Keith attended Auckland University and in 1955 graduated with BE (Electrical).  He is a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, London, and a chartered Engineer.

Keith has always been fascinated by space-related topics.  At school he belonged to the “British Interplanetary Society”, (probably the only NZ member).  He was fortunate beyond belief to have been able to participate in the NASA programmes, especially the first Moon Landing.  He has a tape recording of Armstrong’s voice recorded on a portable recorder directly from the station console loudspeaker.  This recording was received BEFORE the NASA controller in Houston.

His work history is extraordinary.  Starting from his first position after gaining his degree, Keith has achieved more than most of us would in “two life times”.

  • 1955-57                 Civil Aviation Administration as Radio Engineer
  • 1957-58                 New Plymouth City Electricity Department
  • 1958-60                 General Electric Company (England) at Salisbury, south Australia working on guided missile testing at Woomera, SA.
  • 1961-62                 Ionospheric Physicist with the Australian Antarctic Research Expedition at Mawson Base, Antarctica.  Mount Brockelsby was named subsequently.
  • 1963-1972           Sydney University School of Physics.  Established a new Environmental Department with the school
  • 1976-1977           Returned to live in Cambridge, New Zealand.
  • 1977-1975           Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Formed and operated several private companies interested in Electronic tracking applications for railways, automatic road tolling and stolen vehicle recovery.
  • 1995-present      Returned to Auckland, NZ.  Semi-retired but still involved in development and commercialisation of Voice Biometrics – the use of personal voice characteristics as identity verification in access systems.

When in Sydney from 1963 he worked on an environmental physics project involving tracking and catching northern Australia’s saltwater crocodiles which were then hunted almost to extinction.  Only a handful of large animals remained.  Today, they are again being managed to keep numbers within reason!

When asked “What Now” Keith would like to establish some New Zealand industrial capability in biometrics, an emerging field with enormous potential and plenty of interest for bright young minds – why not do it in NZ!

At school he was classmates with Cathy Maclean – later she became Governor General (and profiled on the Alumni).

Keith is now widowed, has a daughter Shelley in Auckland and son Mark in Newcastle NSW.  He has six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  His brother Colin, also a Matamata College Alumnus, still lives in Hinuera on the property which has been owned by the family since 1911.

What an impressive, rewarding and interesting life – long live Keith!