GP earns top NZ honour
Lance O'Sullivan of Kaitaia has vowed to continue working in the Far North as a GP, saying his passion lies here.
Dr O'Sullivan was named Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year at an awards evening in Auckland last week.
Dr O'Sullivan is honoured for his leadership, vision and advocacy in healthcare. His low-cost health clinic Te Kohanga Whakaora (the nest of wellness) has made basic healthcare more accessible for people in the Far North.
Dr O'Sullivan's Manawa Ora Korokoro Ora programme, based at Kaitaia Primary School, is Northland's first full-time, school-based health clinic.
It provides medical care to 2000 children at 14 primary and intermediate schools.
He also initiated the Kainga Ora (well home) initiative, which fixes run-down homes in the community on the basis that wellness begins in warm safe homes.
Accepting his award, he said, "The Far North is the right place to express my passion and leadership."
He paid tribute to the community, his wife Tracy and his whanau.
"We don't do what we do for recognition, but when nights like this happen it helps us go forward for another day, another week, another month, another year."
He said he was proud to receive the award.
"New Zealand has given me so much. On behalf of everyone here tonight, I would like to confirm my commitment to continuing to make New Zealand a great place for us all."
He said Tracy was his greatest supporter.
Their next project is a telemedicine scheme using the internet, aimed at delivering health services to children in remote locations in the Far North.