Browse Fellows


www Lives

Biographical entry Pacey, Herbert Kenneth (1905 - 1971)

MRCS and FRCS 1934; MB ChB Otago 1929; MD Melbourne 1931; FRACS 1939; FRCOG 1945.

6 August 1905
Auckland, New Zealand
18 April 1971
Auckland, New Zealand
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Herbert Kenneth Pacey was born in Auckland on 6 August 1905 and was educated at Auckland Grammar School, Palmerston North Boys' High School, and Otago University where he distinguished himself as a rugby footballer, playing for the University of Otago, and in 1927 for the New Zealand Universities. After graduation he was house surgeon at Wellington Hospital in 1929 and 1930, and in 1931 he won a scholarship which gained him a year at the Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne.

By this time Pacey had decided to specialize in obstetrics and gynaecology and came to England to become a Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

In 1935 he returned to New Zealand and was appointed to the staff of the Wellington Hospital as the first specialist in gynaecology and obstetrics. He was responsible during his 30 years on the staff of the hospital for establishing the specialty in Wellington, though the department was not fully formed till 1950. He was recognized as a surgeon of exceptional skill, and was also on the staff of St Helen's Hospital.

During the second world war staff shortages meant a greatly increased load of work, which was the cause of the beginning of a deterioration in his health which lead to his retirement at the age of 60 and ultimately shortened his life.

Pacey was a man of outstanding personality and drive, and this led to his appointment as honorary general secretary of the New Zealand Branch of the BMA, and he also played a prominent part in the New Zealand Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, and in the affairs of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in New Zealand.

Ken Pacey died peacefully in his sleep in Auckland on 18 April 1971, and his wife Marjory and their son and two daughters survived him.

Sources used to compile this entry: [NZ med J 1971, 73, 307].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England