Peter Dryburgh would have had trouble finding Kaitaia on a map when he was growing up in South Africa and Rhodesia, but the Far North has very much been home to him, his wife Dinny and their children for the last 36 years.

Mr Dryburgh studied and worked in South Africa, the UK and US before becoming surgeon superintendent at Kaitaia Hospital in 1980. He proved not only an extremely skilled and much admired surgeon but became a vociferous champion of the hospital when moves were made in the 1990s to downgrade it to super clinic status.

His passionate effort endeared him even more to his community, and when he was farewelled in 2004 he was declared an honorary Far Northerner.

Since 2004 he has continued to practise as a locum, around New Zealand and further afield, including Australia and the Solomon Islands, but now he has retired once and for all. He and Dinny will be farewelled at a function at the Kaitaia fire station on Saturday next week (May 21), and his former colleagues at the hospital will welcome any stories people might like to share.

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Any contributions will be welcomed by Janlyn Rawiri, PA to hospital operations manager Neta Smith, ph (09) 408-9180 ext 4809, email janlyn.rawiri@northlanddhb.org.nz. Tickets for the function ($20) can also be obtained from Janlyn.