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Tribute to Dr Andrew MacDiarmid

20 October 2021

Tributes have been flowing for Tauranga based surgeon Dr Andy MacDiarmid, who died suddenly earlier this week. Dr Andy as he was known, operated on over 3,000 Cook Islanders and alleviated their suffering, over a period of three decades.

One of the first to express her sadness and condolences at his passing, was the Minister of Health –Hon Vainetutai Rose Toki Brown.

“Dr MacDiarmid was a great friend of the Cook Islands and helped many of our people, not only during his time here, but also at his Tauranga base. In later years he would operate on our people in Tauranga – replacing their hips or knees – and then have them stay at his home while they recuperated.”

“Two of his most recent patients were the Queen’s Representative – Sir Tom Marsters – and local identity Stephen Kavana – Captain Moko; who both had hip replacement surgery only a few weeks ago.”

Local doctors who worked with Dr MacDiarmid are full of praise for his service and the training, skills and mentoring he gave them.

One of the locals was our resident surgeon Dr Deacon Teapa, who said, “Dr MacDiarmid was my mentor and personal friend and a ‘great son’ of the Cook Islands people. He has treated many of our people for the past 30 plus years and has visited the Cook Islands almost every year as well, except last year, due to Covid.

“I am lost for words on how to describe this true Cook Islander and a Cook Islands warrior. He had a huge impact on my training in New Zealand and his ongoing support has been so overwhelming.”

“All those who were treated by Papa Andy will miss him dearly, especially those who experienced his warm hospitality and generosity after their operations in Tauranga.”

“Papa Andy was one of a kind  – a gentleman.”

“Aere ra e Toku Taeake kite rekarekaanga o toou Pu.”

And another former colleague, Dr Aumea Herman commented, “’A great colleague who served the people of the Cook Islands unconditionally and selflessly, this extended to those Cook Islands patients who travelled to Tauranga for surgery. He was an excellent mentor for our Cook Islands surgeons and surgical staff and contributed significantly to lifting the quality of our orthopaedic services. Leadership through service. Kia Toa.’  

In recognition of his services, Dr MacDiarmid was awarded Honorary Permanent Residence by the Cook Islands Government in November 2012.

Dr MacDiarmid was a highly qualified orthopaedic surgeon and prior to his death was consultant surgeon to three hospitals in the Bay of Plenty area. He specialised in hip and knee joint replacement surgery, arthroscopic surgery and general orthopaedic surgery.

Dr MacDiarmid was 70 years old.

ENDS: Enquiries to Jaewynn McKay +682 55486

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