GODZone team in support of rural medicine and the Pat Farry Trust


GODZone team in support of rural medicine and the Pat Farry Trust

Media release from the Pat Farry Health Education Trust
3 minutes to Read

Garry Nixon, Jeremy Webber, Mark Smith and Harriet Miller are a like-minded group of Rural Hospital Doctors and General Practitioners who will be competing in the 2018 GODZone event. Through this adventure, they hope to raise awareness for rural medicine in New Zealand through The Pat Farry Rural Education Trust and highlight the fundamental role of exercise, teamwork, and endeavor in improving the health of New Zealanders. To become a Rural Hospital Doctor requires an adventurous spirit, a mild adrenaline addiction, commitment, motivation and the ability to problem solve when situations spiral out of control. These skills and personality traits will bring this team to the finish line of a race such as GODZone.

The Challenge:
GODZone is a multi-day, non-stop, adventure style race that is held annually in the South Island of New Zealand. This event will be based out of Fiordland and will be held from March 1st-8th 2018. The race format involves seven to eight stages involving a combination of navigation, trekking, mountain biking, alpine travel, and kayaking. The full course covers a distance of 500-600km and takes from four to seven days to complete.

The Team:
Garry Nixon is a Rural Hospital Generalist at Dunstan Hospital. He was recently appointed Associate Dean Rural, University of Otago. He is an old hand to both the art of medicine and the New Zealand outdoors. Although he does not often compete in races, he is a well-seasoned trans -alpinist particularly in Fiordland and the West Otago Alps. Garry has climbed several major overseas peaks including Mt Logan and Mustagh Ata. He has spent a significant amount of time ski touring both in New Zealand as well as North America and more recently he has taken to the sports of mountain biking and whitewater kayaking. Garry is looking forward to rejoining Mark and Jeremy and now Harriet for another Godzone race, this time in the mountains he has spent the most time in.

Jeremy Webber is passionate about rural clinical practice and the outdoor environment in which we all live. He has a strong interest in medical education and embraces the opportunity to promote the Pat Farry trust in joining the rural hospital team for Godzone chapter 7 in Fiordland. Challenging himself and relying on teammates to navigate their way through New Zealand’s backcountry represents much of the varied and exciting nature of rural medicine, and benefit for all of the exercise in the outdoors.
Jeremy is based in Taupo with his young family where they enjoy the full spectrum of the central plateau playground.

Mark Smith is a Rural GP and Rural Hospital Doctor who grew up in Southland with the adventure playground of Fiordland in his backyard. His passion and enjoyment for the outdoors and adventure have led him on tramping trips, up peaks, and along countless mountain bike trails. In recent years he has competed in on and off-road marathons and multisport events.  He previously completed the Godzone race with the Pat Farry Trust team in Kaikoura in 2014. At the time he thought he was retiring from Godzone forever, but the lure of Fiordland beckons. He is excited at the new challenge that this Mother of all GODZones will offer.

Harriet Miller is originally from the Banks Peninsula and temporarily based in Wellington. Harriet was a Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) student in Queenstown in 2012 and was lucky enough to meet Pat Farry through Otago's Matagouri club while at medical school.
Harriet has competed in the Godzone Pursuit in 2017 (Queenstown) and enjoys a variety of outdoor interests, including ski touring, alpine climbing, tramping and mountain biking. Godzone is a great excuse (not that she needs one!) to get out on lots of adventures and feels grateful to raise awareness for the Pat Farry Rural Health Trust in the process.

Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust:

Come and join Gary Nixon and Mark Smith at the Pat Farry Trust fundraiser dinner ‘authentic Lebanese family cuisine’ at Gemmayze St Resturant, St Kevins Arcadeon in Auckland on Friday 6th April from 7:00 pm. Together they will share the teams GODZone experience including challenges, highlights and the synergy with rural medicine.

If you are attending the National Rural Health Conference you can book the Pat Farry Trust dinner via the conference website or alternatively you can book here. Sue Farry and the Trustees invite all supporters of the Trust including family and friends.

The late Pat Farry was a Rural General Practitioner based out of Queenstown who was passionate about Rural Medicine. He devoted his life to improving rural education and in 2007 established the very successful Rural Immersion Programme for medical students of the University of Otago. Unfortunately Pat passed away in 2009 and the trust has been established in his memory to further develop and maintain his vision.