Two of the most prestigious surgical awards in Australasia have been bestowed upon surgeons from the Bay of Plenty.
Mr Chris Dawe and Professor Peter Gilling were honoured at the recent Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACs) Annual Scientific Congress 2016, held in Brisbane, Australia.
Mr Dawe was awarded the ESR Hughes Medal for distinguished contributions to surgery. The honour, which covers all surgical specialties, had never previously been awarded to a New Zealand orthopaedic surgeon.
"For me it's a very big personal honour to be given this award, and it was very special that my family were present at the award ceremony," he said. "I personally see it however as a collective honour for all my mentors, teachers and colleagues over the years, as well as recognition of the support of my family."
Mr Dawe has been a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Tauranga Hospital since 1981 (specialising in paediatric orthopaedic surgery, deformity correction, joint replacement surgery and general orthopaedics). A Past President of the Paediatric Orthopaedic Society of New Zealand, Chris was awarded the New Zealand Orthopaedic Association Presidential Medal in 2008 for his services to orthopaedics. He is also a past RACS examiner and was New Zealand's senior examiner for orthopaedic surgery from 2006-2008.
Professor Peter Gilling was awarded the Excellence in Surgical Research Award, an honour created to recognise significant contributions to surgical research from a pre-eminent surgical scientist. He is only the second urologist and second New Zealander to receive the award in its16-year history.
Professor Gilling said he was very honoured to receive the award and thought it was a hoax when he first heard about it.
"I was just heading out to dinner and the president of the college called me whilst I was walking across the car park. I thought it was a hoax for a start. You would expect the college to favour general surgery and orthopaedics because they are such an enormous part of the organisation; urology is a very small component. That said I was obviously very pleased to receive it."
Professor Gilling acknowledged the contribution of his business partner and fellow Tauranga urologist Mark Fraundorfer.
"Mark's been a consistent collaborator and supporter of the research and without his support I could not have done a lot of the things which have led to this award."
Professor Gilling has an international reputation in benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) research. Head of the Bay of Plenty District Health Board (BOPDHB) Clinical School, he is known for his pioneering work with holmium laser prostatectomy. His current research includes projects investigating diseases of the prostate, both benign and malignant, as well as others concerning bladder and renal conditions.