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Margaret Neave (1924-2007)


Inducted 2011
Marsden years: 1927-1937


This posthumous award recognises the contribution Dr Margaret Neave made to public health in New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and South East Asia.

Margaret’s Neave’s initial plan when she left school was to be a nurse, but this changed and during her time at Marsden and her desire to be a doctor meant the school had to make arrangements for scientific subjects to be made available. Leaving school in 1937 as dux, she went to Otago Medical School and graduated in 1943, and worked in the public hospitals in both Wellington and the Hutt Valley before furthering her study in paediatrics in Britain. 

On her return she joined the Health Department. This stimulated her interest in children’s health in both Maori and Pacific Island communities and she volunteered to go to Western Samoa where she worked, with the local medical staff, to develop a maternal and child health programme.  Service in Vietnam followed where her focus was on the children who were suffering from more than just the war going on around them.  Fearless and innovative, Margie’s efforts were recognised when the Prime Minister, Norman Kirk, proposed and built a children’s’ ward at the Qui Nhon hospital in her honour.
Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Laos, refugee camps in Hong Kong all followed as Margaret took her skills, good sense  and Christian practicality to  those in need – often as a volunteer for a variety of agencies. 

Selfless, humble and inventive Margie avoided any honours, but kept close contact with her family and her school. In her early years she was often an inspirational speaker at Assembly and regularly enjoyed Old Girls functions. 

Margie once said, “It’s been so very interesting seeing what the human race can do” and certainly Margaret Neave practised this to the full.