You sent copies of invitations to the College’s Founding Dinner and the first GP conference. Can you tell us more about those events?
The New Zealand College was founded in 1974, and before that we were considered Faculties of the Royal College of General Practitioners in London. To celebrate, we held a Foundation Dinner on 24 January 1974 to celebrate – the same day as Christchurch’s Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
The dinner was attended by the Duke of Edinburgh and Professor Pat Byrne, Patron and President of the (London) Royal College of General Practitioners respectively (pictured top left). It was a wonderful evening. The Duke was scheduled to attend the races at 8.30pm, but when I reminded him of this he said “John, I am going nowhere.” Eventually he left the dinner at 11.00pm.
Our inaugural conference was held two weeks later at the University of Canterbury. Christchurch GPs and their wives planned and organised the event, which had more than 400 attendees. I believe it was very successful in paving the way for many conferences since.