Guardian Trust distributes $1million from charitable trust to fund ground-breaking medical research

A generous bequest from a Wellington couple will have a long-lasting impact on crucial medical research and the development of new treatments.

Guardian Trust, on behalf of the David and Cassie Anderson Medical Trust, has announced a $1.0 million donation to support a new research institute undertaking critical research into cancer and disfiguring conditions.

The team at the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute (GMRI), led by renowned plastic surgeon and research scientist Dr Swee Tan, has made discoveries that underpin innovative treatments for strawberry birthmarks. The state-of-the-art research facility will allow Dr Tan and his team to further their research, which has ground-breaking implications for cancer treatment and regenerative

The Andersons, who died in 1994 and had no children, were committed to supporting medical research and set up a charitable trust to ensure their legacy endured in perpetuity.
Guardian Trust General Manager Personal Client Services Philip Morgan Rees says, “Guardian Trust has been the proud trustee and investment manager of the David and Cassie Anderson Medical Trust since its inception nearly 20 years ago.

“It is a privilege to honour the couple’s wishes in this way and to play a role in establishing an enduring legacy for the Andersons, who specified that they wanted their charitable trust to support medical research in New Zealand. It is a tremendous example of how people can continue to support causes close to their heart through a charitable trust that is managed with a long-term investment approach.”

The GMRI is named in honour of the two New Zealanders, Sir Harold Gillies and Sir Archibald McIndoe, who pioneered plastic surgery. The 426-square-metre laboratory situated above floors occupied by New Zealand Blood Services in a building owned by Capital & Coast District Health Board and adjacent to Wellington Regional Hospital, is currently being fitted-out. The state-of-the-art facility and equipment will allow Dr Tan and his team to undertake work that is at the forefront of advances in knowledge of cancer, birth anomalies and regenerative medicine.

Guardian Trust’s $1.0 million distribution to the GMRI provides the seed funding in the establishment of the research facility, but on-going funding is necessary for Dr Tan and his team to continue their research. The GMRI has established a website,, through which the public can donate to support its work.

GMRI Chairman Paul Baines said: “We are very grateful for the generous donation from the David and Cassie Anderson Medical Trust. David and Cassie were both committed to supporting medical research and it is a fitting choice for Guardian Trust, as trustee of their legacy, to support the GMRI.”

“Over the years, many organisations and individuals have contributed to our ultimate goal – the establishment of this research facility. It is hugely gratifying to see this tangible result emerge from the hard work and generosity of so many. We look forward to continuing our work and enhancing the lives of people suffering cancer and disfiguring conditions.”

The GMRI will be recognised and the new premises officially opened in a formal opening ceremony to be held at Parliament on 3 December 2013.