Hon doc - Sir Donald Beaven

Doctor of Science

Sir Donald Beaven, founding professor of the Christchurch School of Medicine, is widely known for his general enthusiasm in promoting the health and well-being of the people of New Zealand, and for his contribution to the arts and the community.

Born in Christchurch in 1925, Don gained his MBChB at the University of Otago in 1948.

Initially, Don took rotating hospital service appointments (1948-1951) and then went into general practice at Karamea (1951-1952). From there, he left for London to become the medical registrar of four teaching hospitals over three years.

Don returned to Christchurch in 1955 as the senior resident physician of Christchurch Hospital and clinical tutor to the University of Otago branch medical facility.

In the years that followed, Don held many important posts, including foundation professor of medicine (1971-89) at the Christchurch School of Medicine and head of the academic department of medicine (1971-1978). He has been Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the Christchurch School of Medicine since 1990.

Don has received nearly two dozen major honours and awards for his achievements, such as his Fulbright Fellowship (1956). His public service was recognised in 1989 when he was awarded a CBE and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.

Don has had many other responsibilities and has given lectures, been an examiner and a professor-in-residence around the world. He has had many significant roles in various professional bodies nationally and internationally and has contributed a great deal to the understanding and care of people with diabetes.

One of Don’s most important roles was at the Joint Otago University Medical School-Canterbury Hospital Board Teaching and Research Unit in Medicine. He was the first director of this joint service and research unit, which supplies a consulting endocrine service to about one million people in the lower half of the country and specialist laboratory facilities.

However, Don’s interests are not limited to medicine. He has contributed to many civic and cultural organisations, such as the Advisory Board of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Scenery Preservation Society, of which he is a founding member.

His love and appreciation of wine is not only reflected in his ability to judge wine competitions but also in his notable television series The Winemakers, three books on the subject and various newspaper columns.

Don has published nine books in total, numerous chapters and approximately 250 publications.

Citation authorised as true and correct at April 2001.