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Biographical entry Hunter, Anthony Frederick (1924 - 1978)

OBE 1977; MRCS and FRCS 1953; MB ChB Otago 1946; FRACS 1954.

31 August 1978
General surgeon and Paediatric surgeon


Anthony Frederick Hunter was born in Blackheath, London, and at the age of two emigrated to New Zealand with his parents, both of whom died during his childhood. He was then brought up by an aunt and uncle and educated at Mount Albert Grammar School, King's College, and the University of Otago Medical School where he graduated in 1947. After resident appointments with the Auckland Hospital Board he was a demonstrator of anatomy and came to London to undertake further surgical training at the Royal Marsden, Whipps Cross, St Mary's and the Royal Masonic Hospitals. He completed the Final FRCS in 1953 and made many firm surgical friendships here.

On returning to Auckland in 1953 he became surgical tutor at Green Lane Hospital where he remained for three years, taking the FRACS in 1954. This very busy appointment gave him wide experience before he went into practice in 1956 and became paediatric surgeon at the Princess Mary Hospital for Children, an appointment which rekindled his interest in developmental anatomy. In 1958 he was appointed as visiting consultant surgeon to Green Lane Hospital, working with the late Tony Cawkwell who helped to foster an interest in colo-rectal surgery. This interest led him to become a member of the colo-rectal section of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, to serve on its executive and to become its chairman in 1969. During a three month world tour in that year, with the colo-rectal section, he greatly expanded his knowledge and contacts in the speciality of which he became a leading exponent in Auckland. He lectured widely to doctors, nurses and paramedical personnel, and also promoted the Ileostomy Association. He was an honorary member of the Colo-Proctology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and of the American Proctological Society.

Tony Hunter was a gifted and enthusiastic teacher who also continued as a voluntary tutor in the new anatomy department at Auckland for ten years. In this capacity he helped many surgeons and dentists in getting through the Primary Fellowship. For all this, and his services to surgery, especially in the colo-rectal field, he was awarded the RACS medal in 1977 at the jubilee meeting of the New Zealand section of the College in Rotorua. He was also awarded the OBE in the same year. He was highly regarded by his colleagues for having made an enormous contribution to New Zealand medicine, as an examiner in anatomy and general surgery for the Australasian College, as a member of the senate medical advisory committee of the Auckland School of Medicine and as a member of the Board of Health Committee on private hospitals. He was President of the Auckland division of the Medical Association in 1972, New Zealand representative for the International Society of Surgery and chairman of the central surgical committee of the Auckland hospitals.

Outside his professional life he was a member of Auckland Rotary Club, honorary medical officer to the Auckland Rugby Union and a member of the executive of the Red Cross Society as well as its Auckland President. He was also a popular member of the Auckland Golf Club. His terminal illness imposed grave restrictions on his busy life though he continued to work in precarious health after a major operation. He died on 31 August 1978 and was survived by his wife, Clara, by their two daughters, Meg and Judy, and his son Robert.

Sources used to compile this entry: [NZ med J 1979, 89, 227-228].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England