Rural GPs and nurses get Queen’s Birthday honours

Date published
2 Jun 2015

Two rural doctors and two nurses have been recognised for their services to health in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list. They are Dr Tony Townsend (MNZM), Dr Barry Knight (QSM), Mrs Kainuku (Nurse) and Mrs Richardson (Nurse Practitioner).

Dr Townsend is a part-time General Practitioner in Whangamata, having started his general practice career in rural Kawakawa. After a year in 1973 at National Women's Obstetric Hospital he was a solo GP in Te Araroa, 160 kilometres from the nearest hospital and visited patients on horseback. He established a new practice in Rotorua in 1974 which he operated solo until taking two junior partners four years later to serve 7,000 patients, including providing services for Māori on their own marae. He also attended accident scenes with Life Support Emergency services, ran a family planning clinic, and provided educational medical talkback radio. He took up general practice in Whangamata in 2001 in a designated teaching practice which serves 4,000 regular patients and thousands of seasonal visitors. He was editor of the New Zealand Family Physician journal for five years, an editor of the International Journal of Diabetes and a Deputy President of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners for three years. Dr Townsend is a Clinical Lecturer in General Practice and Primary Healthcare at Auckland University, and has served on numerous medical committees and conferences.

Dr Knight's medical duties included obstetric and anaesthetic duties at Tokoroa hospital, and in earlier years assisting police with medical and road traffic situations. He came to Tokoroa in 1965 working as a General Practitioner and Anaesthetist at the hospital. Until recent years he was on the emergency medical roster for after-hours service, including road accident call outs, weekend surgery consultations, and other medical events. He has a reputation for his good early diagnostic skills and early referral for specialist care. He has assisted with more than 2,000 childbirths during his career. He was the President of the Rotary Club of Tokoroa. Dr Knight is known for providing medical services to some families without seeking payment.

See also Waikato Times story:

Ex-Tokoroa doctor receives Queen's birthday honours

When Barry Knight arrived to Tokoroa to start a new job in medicine, he never expected to leave half a century later with a Queen's Service Medal. (Waikato Times)

The former Tokoroa GP retired late last year after working for 50 years in various parts of the medical profession.

And this year his efforts were recognised at one of the highest levels.

"I had absolutely no idea. I am shocked, deeply moved, but delighted to receive this recognition at the end of my career."

Read the story.

Mrs Kainuku has contributed to diabetic nursing for more than 30 years. Mrs Kainuku was Nurse Supervisor Night Duty at Masterton Hospital for five years and Provider of Specialist Diabetic Nursing Services for the Wairarapa District Health Board from 1995 to 2012. She made herself available, often unpaid, on a 24 hour seven day a week basis to help patients, including with shopping and complex family and social issues. She has advocated on behalf of Diabetes New Zealand Wairarapa - the organisation she played a large role in rescuing from disbandment - with the District Health Board for community funding for insulin pumps and self-management courses for all child sufferers of Type 1 Diabetes. Outside working hours she organised self-management courses to get Type 2 diabetics more involved in the control and management of the disease. As a member of the Wairarapa Health Trust she helped raise funds for hospital equipment and ambulances. She inaugurated free clinics at Papawai Marae in Greytown and in the Cameron Community in Masterton for Māori and Pacific Islanders. Since her retirement Mrs Kainuku continues to be involved in Diabetes New Zealand Wairarapa as a volunteer and Patron.

Mrs Richardson has worked for 30 years as a Nurse Practitioner at Waikeria Corrections Centre and is the 16th longest-serving staff member at the prison. Mrs Richardson has worked a rostered four days a week and has been an after-hours on-call nurse, treating prisoners any time of the day or night. In the late 1960s she was a member of Country Girls Club and was involved at the national level until amalgamation with the Young Farmers' Club. She has been an active member of the Women's Division of Federated Farmers, now Rural Women, for many years. She has served on the local school Board and has been a member of the Indoor Bowling Club and Hall Society for many years. In 2008 she joined the Te Awamutu branch of Altrusa International and is an active member. Mrs Richardson received The Queen's Girl Guide award in 1965 and the Governor-General's Young Adult Award in 1970 for services to the community.

View the full Queen's birthday honours here.


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