View Article PDF

26 June 1932–18 September 2020

Richard Keith Pears, the middle son of Doris and James Pears was born on 26 June 1932 at the Lumsden Maternity Hospital. The Pears family lived on a sheep station called Dunrobin Valley in the shadow of the Takitimu Mountains in Northern Southland. He died in Wanaka on 18 September 2020 in rest home care at the age of 88. He had an elder brother Kenneth and a younger brother Rob. Richard attended school locally until he was 11 and then it was to Cathedral Grammar, followed by Christ’s College in Christchurch. Home visits were few and far between. Otago University followed in Dunedin where he boarded at Selwyn College and gained entrance to medical school graduating in 1956.

He was married to Betty Watters at the same time and so started a very significant and supportive partnership over some 62 years. Betty died in January 2019. Betty was the daughter of Dr Watters in Gore, Richard eventually taking over his practice. This however was not before he had completed his residency years in Invercargill and Christchurch, and then travelled overseas to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he completed his Diploma in Anaesthetics. He also gained his Diploma in Obstetrics while in the UK.

Richard had prepared himself well for work as a GP in a country town where there was a local hospital with a resident surgeon needing help with anaesthesia, and a large obstetric practice. Richard was at first practising from home but he did not accept this as ideal especially for the family and also if a model of teamwork and colleagueship was to be established in GP practice, where after-hours work could be rostered and skills shared within a team relationship. To this end the Gore Medical Centre was opened in the late 60s and it was the first medical centre in New Zealand. It became the vanguard for other very singular initiatives in general practice throughout the country.

The most significant development was that of pioneering a training programme for general practitioners, quite a remarkable and almost controversial initiative in those days, and done in tandem with and following the initiative of the renowned Dr Eric Elder from Tuatapere. Their thesis was that general practice was as much a specialty as any other medical discipline and that “sorting out the muddle in your head and finding a new way of working was the essence of reorientating hospital-trained GPs”. The Southland venture stimulated activity throughout the rest of the country. Richard was one of the earliest “host” general practitioners. This was in itself a huge undertaking, not only in the hosting, but in convincing the Royal NZ College of GPs to come on board and help with the immense amount of academic initiative and associated research needed in setting up a path to Fellowship, with examinations, in parallel with consistent and regular reviews over time for GP registrars attached to practices like the Gore Medical Centre.

Richard directed the Southland Scheme until 1980 and then moved to Christchurch where he was the Canterbury Regional Director until he retired in 1996. Looking back, these times were a “ferment” coming out of Southland… “of all places”… indeed it was the explosion of general practice into a specialty. There were lots of bureaucratic hurdles, and some quite rough spots in the late 70s and early 80s. It was eventually picked up by the universities and became a programme of quality and was renamed the Family Medicine Training Programme: FMTP. Richard was granted an MSD Fellowship to the US in 1977 to further his studies in this area and likewise even when close to retirement he helped set up a family medicine programme in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.1

As if that was not enough to take up his time, Richard was one of the individuals who initiated the concept of the Gore and District Counselling Centre, a creative and much needed response to the mental health needs of the Eastern/Northern Southland and West Otago communities. Opening in 1977, the Centre continues to successfully provide counselling, psychotherapy, supervision and mental health education.

Richard was a very compassionate man who loved and supported Betty fully, a great listener according to his children (and his colleagues) with a lot of personal and spiritual depth. He had great patience, was seldom angry, and his judgment well considered. He was a lay cannon in the Christchurch Cathedral. He loved the hills and the family’s hut up the North Etal Creek on the Dunrobin Valley estate… a wild but welcoming place, with snow on the river flats in winter and the warm nor-westers in summer. He loved wandering, stick in hand. Richard is survived by his younger brother, Rob, his daughters, Rebecca and Anna, and sons Andrew and Richard.

As an old practice partner of Richard’s it has been a privilege to write this obituary on behalf of Richard, his medical colleagues and the family.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Dr Peter Strang, General Practitioner, Retired, Dunedin.

Acknowledgements

I wish to acknowledge the help of Anna, Rebecca, Andrew and Richard as well as Dr Peter Fettes, a practice partner of Richard during those Gore years, and Margaret Pullar, Past Director of the Gore and District Counselling Centre.

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

1. Anyon P, Rainey H. The Amoeba, the Snail, and the Octopus….a History of General Practice Vocational Training in NZ”. RNZCGP 2001 e-book publication.

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

26 June 1932–18 September 2020

Richard Keith Pears, the middle son of Doris and James Pears was born on 26 June 1932 at the Lumsden Maternity Hospital. The Pears family lived on a sheep station called Dunrobin Valley in the shadow of the Takitimu Mountains in Northern Southland. He died in Wanaka on 18 September 2020 in rest home care at the age of 88. He had an elder brother Kenneth and a younger brother Rob. Richard attended school locally until he was 11 and then it was to Cathedral Grammar, followed by Christ’s College in Christchurch. Home visits were few and far between. Otago University followed in Dunedin where he boarded at Selwyn College and gained entrance to medical school graduating in 1956.

He was married to Betty Watters at the same time and so started a very significant and supportive partnership over some 62 years. Betty died in January 2019. Betty was the daughter of Dr Watters in Gore, Richard eventually taking over his practice. This however was not before he had completed his residency years in Invercargill and Christchurch, and then travelled overseas to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he completed his Diploma in Anaesthetics. He also gained his Diploma in Obstetrics while in the UK.

Richard had prepared himself well for work as a GP in a country town where there was a local hospital with a resident surgeon needing help with anaesthesia, and a large obstetric practice. Richard was at first practising from home but he did not accept this as ideal especially for the family and also if a model of teamwork and colleagueship was to be established in GP practice, where after-hours work could be rostered and skills shared within a team relationship. To this end the Gore Medical Centre was opened in the late 60s and it was the first medical centre in New Zealand. It became the vanguard for other very singular initiatives in general practice throughout the country.

The most significant development was that of pioneering a training programme for general practitioners, quite a remarkable and almost controversial initiative in those days, and done in tandem with and following the initiative of the renowned Dr Eric Elder from Tuatapere. Their thesis was that general practice was as much a specialty as any other medical discipline and that “sorting out the muddle in your head and finding a new way of working was the essence of reorientating hospital-trained GPs”. The Southland venture stimulated activity throughout the rest of the country. Richard was one of the earliest “host” general practitioners. This was in itself a huge undertaking, not only in the hosting, but in convincing the Royal NZ College of GPs to come on board and help with the immense amount of academic initiative and associated research needed in setting up a path to Fellowship, with examinations, in parallel with consistent and regular reviews over time for GP registrars attached to practices like the Gore Medical Centre.

Richard directed the Southland Scheme until 1980 and then moved to Christchurch where he was the Canterbury Regional Director until he retired in 1996. Looking back, these times were a “ferment” coming out of Southland… “of all places”… indeed it was the explosion of general practice into a specialty. There were lots of bureaucratic hurdles, and some quite rough spots in the late 70s and early 80s. It was eventually picked up by the universities and became a programme of quality and was renamed the Family Medicine Training Programme: FMTP. Richard was granted an MSD Fellowship to the US in 1977 to further his studies in this area and likewise even when close to retirement he helped set up a family medicine programme in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.1

As if that was not enough to take up his time, Richard was one of the individuals who initiated the concept of the Gore and District Counselling Centre, a creative and much needed response to the mental health needs of the Eastern/Northern Southland and West Otago communities. Opening in 1977, the Centre continues to successfully provide counselling, psychotherapy, supervision and mental health education.

Richard was a very compassionate man who loved and supported Betty fully, a great listener according to his children (and his colleagues) with a lot of personal and spiritual depth. He had great patience, was seldom angry, and his judgment well considered. He was a lay cannon in the Christchurch Cathedral. He loved the hills and the family’s hut up the North Etal Creek on the Dunrobin Valley estate… a wild but welcoming place, with snow on the river flats in winter and the warm nor-westers in summer. He loved wandering, stick in hand. Richard is survived by his younger brother, Rob, his daughters, Rebecca and Anna, and sons Andrew and Richard.

As an old practice partner of Richard’s it has been a privilege to write this obituary on behalf of Richard, his medical colleagues and the family.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Dr Peter Strang, General Practitioner, Retired, Dunedin.

Acknowledgements

I wish to acknowledge the help of Anna, Rebecca, Andrew and Richard as well as Dr Peter Fettes, a practice partner of Richard during those Gore years, and Margaret Pullar, Past Director of the Gore and District Counselling Centre.

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

1. Anyon P, Rainey H. The Amoeba, the Snail, and the Octopus….a History of General Practice Vocational Training in NZ”. RNZCGP 2001 e-book publication.

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

26 June 1932–18 September 2020

Richard Keith Pears, the middle son of Doris and James Pears was born on 26 June 1932 at the Lumsden Maternity Hospital. The Pears family lived on a sheep station called Dunrobin Valley in the shadow of the Takitimu Mountains in Northern Southland. He died in Wanaka on 18 September 2020 in rest home care at the age of 88. He had an elder brother Kenneth and a younger brother Rob. Richard attended school locally until he was 11 and then it was to Cathedral Grammar, followed by Christ’s College in Christchurch. Home visits were few and far between. Otago University followed in Dunedin where he boarded at Selwyn College and gained entrance to medical school graduating in 1956.

He was married to Betty Watters at the same time and so started a very significant and supportive partnership over some 62 years. Betty died in January 2019. Betty was the daughter of Dr Watters in Gore, Richard eventually taking over his practice. This however was not before he had completed his residency years in Invercargill and Christchurch, and then travelled overseas to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he completed his Diploma in Anaesthetics. He also gained his Diploma in Obstetrics while in the UK.

Richard had prepared himself well for work as a GP in a country town where there was a local hospital with a resident surgeon needing help with anaesthesia, and a large obstetric practice. Richard was at first practising from home but he did not accept this as ideal especially for the family and also if a model of teamwork and colleagueship was to be established in GP practice, where after-hours work could be rostered and skills shared within a team relationship. To this end the Gore Medical Centre was opened in the late 60s and it was the first medical centre in New Zealand. It became the vanguard for other very singular initiatives in general practice throughout the country.

The most significant development was that of pioneering a training programme for general practitioners, quite a remarkable and almost controversial initiative in those days, and done in tandem with and following the initiative of the renowned Dr Eric Elder from Tuatapere. Their thesis was that general practice was as much a specialty as any other medical discipline and that “sorting out the muddle in your head and finding a new way of working was the essence of reorientating hospital-trained GPs”. The Southland venture stimulated activity throughout the rest of the country. Richard was one of the earliest “host” general practitioners. This was in itself a huge undertaking, not only in the hosting, but in convincing the Royal NZ College of GPs to come on board and help with the immense amount of academic initiative and associated research needed in setting up a path to Fellowship, with examinations, in parallel with consistent and regular reviews over time for GP registrars attached to practices like the Gore Medical Centre.

Richard directed the Southland Scheme until 1980 and then moved to Christchurch where he was the Canterbury Regional Director until he retired in 1996. Looking back, these times were a “ferment” coming out of Southland… “of all places”… indeed it was the explosion of general practice into a specialty. There were lots of bureaucratic hurdles, and some quite rough spots in the late 70s and early 80s. It was eventually picked up by the universities and became a programme of quality and was renamed the Family Medicine Training Programme: FMTP. Richard was granted an MSD Fellowship to the US in 1977 to further his studies in this area and likewise even when close to retirement he helped set up a family medicine programme in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.1

As if that was not enough to take up his time, Richard was one of the individuals who initiated the concept of the Gore and District Counselling Centre, a creative and much needed response to the mental health needs of the Eastern/Northern Southland and West Otago communities. Opening in 1977, the Centre continues to successfully provide counselling, psychotherapy, supervision and mental health education.

Richard was a very compassionate man who loved and supported Betty fully, a great listener according to his children (and his colleagues) with a lot of personal and spiritual depth. He had great patience, was seldom angry, and his judgment well considered. He was a lay cannon in the Christchurch Cathedral. He loved the hills and the family’s hut up the North Etal Creek on the Dunrobin Valley estate… a wild but welcoming place, with snow on the river flats in winter and the warm nor-westers in summer. He loved wandering, stick in hand. Richard is survived by his younger brother, Rob, his daughters, Rebecca and Anna, and sons Andrew and Richard.

As an old practice partner of Richard’s it has been a privilege to write this obituary on behalf of Richard, his medical colleagues and the family.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Dr Peter Strang, General Practitioner, Retired, Dunedin.

Acknowledgements

I wish to acknowledge the help of Anna, Rebecca, Andrew and Richard as well as Dr Peter Fettes, a practice partner of Richard during those Gore years, and Margaret Pullar, Past Director of the Gore and District Counselling Centre.

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

1. Anyon P, Rainey H. The Amoeba, the Snail, and the Octopus….a History of General Practice Vocational Training in NZ”. RNZCGP 2001 e-book publication.

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

Subscriber Content

The full contents of this pages only available to subscribers.

LOGINSUBSCRIBE