HISTORY > TRIBUTES
Some of the people who have made large contributions to Hokianga Health over the years ...
Rae Cox was a member of the Hokianga Hospital Board from 1938 to 1950, and a member of the Northland Hospital Board from 1950 to 1982,
serving as Chairman from 1971 to 1983.
Rae, along with Dr GM Smith led the delegations to Government in the late 1930s and 1940s that eventually led to the formation of the
Hokianga Special Medical Area in 1947.
Chris Diamond QSM
Chris Diamond was the first Chairman of Hokianga Health Enterprise Trust, leading the Trust's governing board from 1992 to 2000.
Chris was chairman of the Hokianga Action Group that led the political campaign opposing the 1991 health reforms, because of the potential impact on the health of Hokianga people.
The success of the campaign led to the formation of the Hokianga Trust in 1992 and eventually to the transfer of ownership and governance of the Hokianga Health services
to Hokianga people in 1993. For many years Chris served in the St. John's Voluntary Ambulance Service.
Chris was awarded the QSM in 1997.
Gwen Freese QSM
The daughter of well known local identity and Area Health Board member Rae Cox and his wife Mary, Gwen grew up on a Hokianga dairy farm.
Gwen commenced her nursing training in 1958 and later gained her midwifery qualification.
She worked in and from Hokianga Hospital since 1961 as a staff nurse, ward sister, public health nurse and midwife.
In 1990, Gwen was appointed as Principal Nurse and later as Area Nurse Manager.
In 1993 she was appointed Nursing Director of the new Hokianga Health, a position which became Clinical Manager in 2001.
In her working career Gwen has seen many changes as the services have expanded, and has watched the growing up of many of the babies
she helped into the world. She has become a well loved and respected part of the hospital and surrounding health services,
having always given herself totally to the job.
Gwen attributes the success of the Trust to the strong foundation it inherited, the dedicated staff and the community support.
She is committed to the philosophy and principles of the service, and feels privileged to have been a part of the
natural progression of events to where the Trust is today.
Gwen retired from fulltime work at Hokianga Health in September 2003, but continues from time to time to work as a nurse locum at Hokianga Health.
On the eve of New Year 1974, Tony Birch arrived in Rawene with his young family on his way back to England
after a tour of duty as a Medical Officer in Fiji. He had planned to do a locum here for three weeks.
After seven weeks, Gwen Freese had persuaded him to take up the job with the grand title of Medical Superintendent,
Rawene Hospital and Director of the Hokianga Special Area Medical Service.
Tony was involved in the educational
side of General Practice both locally and nationally as a member of the Board of Studies of the Royal NZ College of GPs.
He remains committed to Hauora Hokianga and to General Practice and is one of the dying breed of GPs who help with the delivery of babies.
Tony retired from Hokianga Health in December 2005.
Bridget Allan was the first Chief Executive Officer of the Trust, serving in this capacity from March 1993 to November 2000.
Bridget's enthusiasm and commitment firmly established the Trust as an independent and confident entity throughout the 1990s.
During these years, Bridget was appointed to the Board of the Health Funding Authority, served as the Chair of Healthcare Aotearoa and
was a member of the Primary Health working party that drafted the groundbreaking NZ Primary Health Strategy 2001.
Father Brian Prendeville was the public figurehead in the Hokianga campaign to preserve and secure the Hokianga Health services in 1991 and 1992. He notoriously appeared on the Holmes current affairs TV program challenging Simon Upton,
the Minister of Health on the principles of the National Government's 1991 health reforms. He became a key advisor and supporter to the Trust during the 1990s.