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Doctor Graham Milne OBE

June 18, 2019 June 2019 No Comments

Dr Milne in 2009.

Graham Milne was Martinborough’s highly regarded doctor, serving the town in the late 1960s and 1970s . In April Dr. Graham Milne OBE died in Takaka where he had lived in retirement for some years, he had reached the age of 100. His legacy in Martinborough is Wharekaka Rest Home .    

In 1964 he  had been co-opted as a member of a Ministry of Health committee charged with providing a blueprint for the future of care of the aged. The committee had been formed to study the new British government initiative establishing comfortable rest homes for the elderly. In those days the elderly were left to very much care for themselves.  

In 1970 the Wairarapa Health Board closed it’s maternity home in Martinborough leaving a useful building in a pleasant setting. To doctor Milne, who had by then been in the town for a couple of years, the answer was obvious; a perfect rest home. Doctor Milne spoke about it to the Mayor Sid Ussher who called a public meeting which Dr Milne addressed. 

There was considerable enthusiasm for the idea and The mayor and doctor were given the go ahead to negotiate with the Hospital Board for a suitable lease.  They were obviously very persuasive as the Board agreed to a  twenty year lease with right of renewal at a symbolic rental of $20 a year. The rest is as they say, history 

In 2009 Dr Milne returned to Martinborough for the launching of the book Wharekaka, the the history of Wharekaka Rest Home*

Previous to coming to Martinbrough Dr Milne had served at Naenae. While there, in conjunction with the Lions Club, he was instrumental in establishing the New Zealand Asthma Society and its first clinic. 

Dr Milne was awarded the OBE for his public service. 

  • The book Wharekaka – how a community created a rest home – is available at the library  
  • NB An appreciation of Ineke Kershaw will be in the next issue

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