GMRI honours ‘shapers of lives’
The eminent late plastic surgeon Dr Max Lovie and highly-regarded plastic surgery nurse, Christina (Tina) Ackland, whose work impacted on thousands of people, were honoured at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI) recently.
Specially commissioned portraits of Dr Lovie and Mrs Ackland were unveiled on 26 February and 8 April respectively. At each of the occasions over 40 friends, family and senior GMRI staff gathered to commemorate their lives and contribution to the establishment of the GMRI.
Considered by many to have been among the best in New Zealand in their respective fields, Dr Lovie and Mrs Ackland were founding trustees of the Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Research Foundation (now the Gillies McIndoe Foundation) and played vital roles in laying the foundations which led to the formation of the GMRI.
Tina Ackland spent most of her more than 40-year working life at Hutt Hospital helping to rebuild shattered bodies. She was undoubtedly the most experienced plastic surgery theatre nurse in New Zealand. To her colleagues Tina was a leader, teacher, mentor and friend. She was a founding member of the National Perioperative Nursing Council and a Wellington Perioperative Nurses College stalwart. A longstanding member of the Australian and New Zealand Burns Association, she was made an honorary life member in 2011.
To her patients, Tina was a tower of strength and commitment. To family, friends and colleagues she was a beautiful and giving human being with a heart of gold. Tina was also an honorary secretary of the Gillies McIndoe Foundation until her untimely death in 2012.
Tina’s professionalism, compassion and determination to improve the quality of life of those in her care will live on through the work of a GMRI staff member who will be known as The Tina Ackland Research Nurse.
Dr Lovie completed his medical training at the University of Otago in 1962. Trained in New Zealand and Melbourne, he qualified as a plastic surgeon and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1969. After serving with the Australian Army in Vietnam he spent two years in East Grinstead, England. He returned to New Zealand where, as a distinguished plastic surgeon, he built and led the Wellington Regional Plastic Surgery Unit at Hutt Hospital for over 30 years.
Dr Lovie pioneered a number of plastic surgery procedures, including a technique involving the transfer of tissue with its blood vessels from the forearm to reconstruct defects elsewhere in the body. This entails joining the blood vessels in the recipient sites to give the tissue a new blood supply.
Dr Lovie was an enthusiastic supporter of the GMRI’s vision and made a vital contribution to its creation. Throughout his involvement he demonstrated commitment, astuteness, generosity and courage. His untimely death in 2000 was a tragic loss to the profession and the GMRI. The GMRI has established The Max Lovie Scholarship to honour one of New Zealand’s greatest plastic surgeons and a highly-respected mentor.
The unveiling of their portraits warmly acknowledged Max’s and Tina’s invaluable contribution to improving the lives of many people, and to their wonderful support in making the GMRI a reality, Dr Swee Tan, the GMRI’s Founder and Executive Director, said.