Medical Council pays tribute to Honours recipients

Media releases

The Medical Council congratulates all those recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, paying particular tribute to medical professionals who have been acknowledged.

Among those honoured are current Medical Council member Professor John Nacey, who was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and former Medical Council member Elizabeth Hird, appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.


Chair Curtis Walker says the recognition of Professor Nacey and Ms Hird was richly deserved. He also congratulated other medical professionals to receive honours, including Professor Jane Harding (DNZM), Mr George Ngaei (CNZM), Professor Alec Ekeroma (ONZM), Dr Gary Forgeson (ONZM) and Dr Janet Turnbull (MNZM). He would also like to recognise Professor Robert Elliott, awarded Knights Companion (KNZM), for services to medical research.

“All health professionals are dedicated, hard working and frequently make sacrifices to help others. Those leaders recognised on the Honours’ list go even further in their commitment and service to community and country.”

Dr Walker says Professor Nacey has shown outstanding leadership, in health and in medical education. He has been recognised in both New Zealand and Australia for the significant contribution he has made to undergraduate medical education for medical students, as well as vocational training with the specialist medical colleges.

“Professor Nacey’s vast experience in medical education and wisdom as a clinician, academic and mentor continue to be huge assets to the Medical Council.”

Professor Nacey has been a member of the Medical Council since 2010 and has chaired the Council’s Education Committee since 2011.

Ms Hird was appointed a lay member of the Medical Council from 2003 to 2013, and also served a term as the Council’s Deputy Chair.

“Her recognition in the Honours’ list reflects her decades of service to health both in the Otaki community and nationally,” Dr Walker says.

She has been chair of the Otaki Community Health Trust since 1995, was appointed a District Inspector for Mental Health Services in 2002, led the establishment of the Otaki Primary Health Organisation in 2003, and has been Deputy Chair of the Chiropractic Board of New Zealand since 2017.

Ms Hird co-founded the Otaki Women’s Health Group in 1987, with the purpose of providing health services to women, and empowering women in the Otaki Community. During her time as chair, the Otaki Community Health Trust has enabled maternity services to be provided in the area, as well as other services such as cervical screening, counselling and parenting programmes.

Dr Walker also added the Council’s voice in congratulating former Director-General of Health Karen Poutasi who was made a Dame Companion.

“Dame Karen has dedicated many years of service to the health of New Zealanders, both as a previous Director-General and in her current role as Commissioner of Waikato DHB.”

Dr Walker says it was a pleasure to read of all the wonderful achievements by special New Zealanders across every field of endeavour. “Ko koutou ngā kaiarahi, ngā tauira mā mātou - you are examples for us all, you build a better Aotearoa/New Zealand.”