Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 24-January-2003, Vol 116 No 1168
Mutyala Satyanand, or “Saty” as he was known in the profession and the community, an Auckland general practitioner for 50 years, died at Hillsborough in Auckland aged 89, at the end of October 2002.
Saty was born in Fiji in 1913, and first came to New Zealand in 1927 on a Fiji government scholarship, to attend Wanganui Technical College. He went to Otago Medical School, which he attended from Knox College, graduating MB ChB in 1938. He was the first Fiji-born Indian medical graduate and his initial intention was to return and practise medicine in Fiji, after undertaking a house surgeonship at Auckland Hospital under Charles Burns and Frank Gwynne. The outset of World War II and the resultant manpower regulations kept him in the employment of the Auckland Hospital Board, and his return to Fiji became postponed. He took up practice in Grey Lynn, initially with FCM Shortt.
After the end of the War, Saty elected to remain in New Zealand, although retaining his lifelong interest in and connection with Fiji and its people. In the late 1940s, he commenced practice in Ponsonby and over the next decade became widely known in the community as both a general practitioner and as someone involved with what was then not called ‘sports medicine’. Over a lengthy period, there were many cricketers, rugby league players and jockeys who were treated by “Dr Saty”.
A period of ill health in the mid 1950s caused him to effect changes to a wide-ranging practice, and he shifted to Auckland’s estern suburbs. From consulting rooms in Glen Innes and Glendowie, he left behind such things as tonsillectomies and confinement of babies, but maintained his abiding interests in sport, the profession and the community. Many very long connections with practitioners in sporting matters, such as Leo Cooney, Cal Ring, Ash Symmans and Minas Elias, were the result, as were associations with the Auckland Faculty Board Undergraduate Education Committee, the Catholic Doctors Guild, and the Auckland Medico Legal Society.
Saty retired from full-time sole practice in 1985, but kept up with current medical literature. He also did general practice locums, often with GP friends such as Kanu Patel and Rajiv Sood, until late in his 70s he finally retired to the Hillsborough Heights Village in Auckland.
He had been a role model and friend to many – in medicine, and in the Indian community, as well as more generally. His citation in becoming an honorary fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners was recalled in part in an obituary printed by the NZ Weekend Herald: “a high professional reputation among his general practitioner and specialist colleagues as well as a great personal popularity among the public, based on a dignified and sympathetic personal manner and a well established professional integrity.” He was awarded an OBE in New Zealand in 1985 and the Order of Fiji in 1999.
Mutyala is survived by his wife, Tara, and children, Anand and Vijay.
We are grateful to Judge Anand Satyanand for this obituary
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