More than two generations of babies born at Kaitaia Hospital were delivered by GP and obstetrician Tom Young, and many of them are among the hundreds who have paid tribute to the man described by one as the best doctor ever, and by another as a Far North icon, a treasured taonga to many, following his death.

Dr Thomas Richard (Tom) Young died suddenly at his home at Cooper's Beach on Sunday aged 81.

He will be farewelled in the chapel at Geards Funeral Home in Kaitaia at 11am tomorrow.

Dr Young devoted much of his working life to the people of Kaitaia, for a time alongside the equally legendary Dr Bill Parkes.


He delivered babies beyond counting, a role that gave him ample opportunity to display his compassion and his unique sense of humour.

That sense of humour, the dedication with which he served his community and the bottomless jar of jelly beans he kept in his surgery were common themes among comments posted on social media over recent days, a few of which follow:

Michelle Biddle: He truly was one great man (even though he did try to throw my babies in the rubbish bin).

Cliff Knight: Our town was blessed when Tom and his family came to live here.

Raewyn Brown: I'm sure most of the mothers in Kaitaia have a story to tell about a wonderful doctor who gave you so much confidence - even when he held my 5lb 7oz newborn son in one of his large hands and offered to throw him like a football to my dad.

Bianca Dorreen: You truly were one of the greatest. Family doctor from birth, the man with the jelly beans.

Jose Railey: Dr Tom Young, you were a kind man, patient and understanding to the needs of families. Your smile I remember so well.

Lesley Warner: When my son was born he had picked up a frog from the pond outside the hospital [and] as he shook my husband's hand [he] gave it to him. He will be sadly missed by so many people, I'm so glad to have known him.

Kelly N Rima: Much love to the Young family, thank you for lending us such a wonderful man to us all, even if he called our first born an ugly hapuka.