Lives of the fellows

Michael David Henry Holdaway

b.8 May 1932 d.6 September 2012
ONZM(2001) MB ChB NZ(1957) MRCP(1964) FRCP(1984) FRACP

David Holdaway was an associate professor of paediatrics at Otago University Medical School and played a prominent role in the care of children with cancer in the Otago region of New Zealand. He was born in Marton, New Zealand, the son of Clarence Moore Holdaway, a dentist. He attended Huntley Preparatory School and Nelson College, and then studied medicine at the University of Otago, qualifying in 1957.

He was a house surgeon and then a registrar at Wellington Hospital from 1958 to 1961. He then travelled to the UK, where he was a senior house officer at West Norwich Hospital in 1963. From 1964 to 1967 he was a registrar and then a senior research associate at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle. He gained his MRCP in 1964.

In 1968 he returned to New Zealand, as senior lecturer in paediatrics at Otago University. In 1974 he became an associate professor and went on to lead the clinical paediatric oncology service in Dunedin for many years. He was an academic paediatrician with a strong interest in history, ethics and infectious disease, as well as oncology. He published extensively and edited the first two editions of New Zealand’s Immunisation handbook.

He was an important role model for many people and was dedicated to the welfare of his patients. He also held significant leadership roles, including becoming president of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand (from 1982 to 1984).

In retirement his community involvement if anything increased, especially in the area where he had run a monthly paediatric clinic for many years – Oamaru. He became a director of Waitaki Health District Services Ltd, and in this role was involved in setting up and running Oamaru Hospital.

He was honoured by being made a life member of the Child Cancer Foundation and was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001.

But what was the flavour of the man? He was ‘present’ for his patients and loyalty to them was a high priority. He was busy and often in a rush. He was passionate and could run a good crusade. He persisted and had an obvious kindness and concern for people around him. He could be quite competitive.

His family was important to him, although they may not have seen him as much as they wished. He married Shirley Mina Low in 1958 and they had three children – Simon, Sarah and Penelope. David Holdaway died in Dunedin at the age of 80, after a long battle with cancer.

He made a major contribution to the health of children and youth in Otago, as well as the training of many medical students and postgraduate trainees. He will be remembered with gratitude.

Barry Taylor

[NZMJ 15 February 2013, Vol 126 No 1369 – accessed 13 January 2014]

(Volume XII, page web)

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