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Biographical entry McKenzie, Evan Robert (1924 - 2005)

MRCS and FRCS 1953; MB ChB NZ 1947; FRACS 1968.

18 February 1924
Naseby, Central Otago, New Zealand
2 October 2005
General surgeon


Evan McKenzie was director of surgery at Timaru Hospital, New Zealand. He was born on 18 February 1924 in the old gold mining town of Naseby, Central Otago, the seventh child of the Rev Duncan Norman McKenzie and his wife Sarah. During his childhood the family moved around various parishes in the South Island, but spent most time in Outram, near Dunedin. He had his secondary education at the John McGlashan College in Dunedin, and then went on to study medicine at the Otago Medical School. He was a junior resident at Dunedin Hospital and then a demonstrator of anatomy at the medical school.

In 1952 he went to England to specialise in surgery. He was a senior house officer at the City General Hospital in Sheffield, being promoted to registrar when he passed the FRCS. Later, in 1954, he moved to the Sallop Royal Infirmary in Shrewsbury, where he was resident surgical officer. He married Sylvia Killick in the same year.

In 1955 he returned to Dunedin, where he held the post of assistant lecturer in surgery at the Otago Medical School and senior registrar at Dunedin Hospital. There he became a popular trainer of young surgeons, a part he continued to play after being appointed visiting surgeon at Oamaru Hospital. From Oamaru he moved north, in 1961, as junior consultant surgeon at Timaru, where he remained until he retired as deputy superintendent and director of surgery in 1989.

When the call for volunteers to go to Vietnam came in 1968 Evan served as the senior surgeon with the 1st New Zealand Services Medical Team, and returned in 1970. His leadership was not forgotten by the Department of Health, who seconded him as consultant to Western Samoa in 1976. In 1982 he accepted the position of team leader for the International Committee of the Red Cross surgical team in Peshawar, Pakistan.

His contributions to the Rotary Community were recognised by the award of the Paul Harris medal. He provided medical services for the racing clubs in Timaru, Waimate, Geraldine and Ashburton, the South Canterbury Rugby Union, and the Boxing Association. He and Sylvia had three daughters and in due course six grandsons. He died on 2 October 2005.

Sources used to compile this entry: [New Zealand Medical Journal, Vol.188, No.1225].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England