Michael Buckenham graduated from the Otago School of Mines (University of Otago) and the Royal School of Mines (London) with Master’s degrees with Distinction. He was a Fulbright scholar (Krumb School of Mines, Columbia University, New York) and Nuffield scholar at the Royal School of Mines. In later years he spent time at the JK Centre in Brisbane and at the Colorado School of Mines near Denver.
After Broken Hill and other Australian experience he returned to New Zealand, becoming in due course Head of the Department of Mineral Technology at Otago University and later Mining Engineering at the Auckland University Engineering School.
Michael was an active promoter of mineral development in New Zealand and consulted, researched and published on many mineral prospects, particularly the non-metallics, and served on many relevant committees.
Michael travelled widely and undertook a number of UN assignments in a variety of countries, specialising in phosphate technical and economic evaluation.
A long standing AusIMM member since the early 1950s, Michael assisted in the formation of the New Zealand Branch in 1966 and promoted Empire, Commonwealth, Australian and New Zealand conferences. He was Chair of the New Zealand Branch on two occasions, becoming a Councillor from 1992 to 1998 and President in 1997, being only the third from New Zealand – the previous two serving nearly 100 years prior. Michael was elected an Honorary Fellow in 1993.
A New Zealand Branch service award and the Lloyd Jones New Zealand Branch award in more recent years have acknowledged his service, which includes the support and promotion of the student sector. In 2017 Michael jointly prepared and presented a history of the first 50 years of the New Zealand Branch.