The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
RANZCOG congratulates Dr John Tait, recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to obstetrics and gynaecology.
John has been named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
“I feel honoured and humble to have received this recognition,” said John. “I have been privileged to work with outstanding people who have all contributed to my receiving this award.”
A towering figure
A Fellow of RANZCOG for more than 35 years, John has been a tireless contributor to the work of the College and women’s health in Aotearoa New Zealand.
John started his career in medicine as a House Surgeon in 1975 in North Canterbury. He entered his obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) training in North Canterbury and later spent three years working as an O&G Registrar in the UK, prior to returning to Aotearoa New Zealand and gaining his Fellowship and Specialist Registration in 1985. He settled in Wellington in 1986 as a Specialist in O&G at the Wellington Women’s Hospital, and as a Clinical Senior Lecturer, Wellington Medical School, University of Otago.
In 1999 John became the Clinical Director Gynaecology in the Women’s Health Service at Capital Coast District Health Board (CCDHB), becoming Clinical Director, Women’s Health Service in 2003. In his role as Clinical Director, he was involved in the migration of the Women’s Health Service into a new hospital, which was successfully completed in 2009. This led to his appointment as Executive Clinical Director, Women’s Children and Surgical Directorate in 2010. In 2016 he was appointed as the CCDHB Chief Medical Officer. Through his chairmanship of maternity and neonatal monitoring groups, John has highlighted the need to address inequity within the health system.
John has held numerous positions within the RANZCOG governance and committee structure, notably on Te Kāhui Oranga ō Nuku (RANZCOG New Zealand Committee), RANZCOG Council and Board, including serving as RANZCOG Vice-President for seven years. John was influential in steering the direction of the bi-national college, with his commitment to equity reflected in his vision for RANZCOG to improve equity of access to services, particularly for Māori and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, but also in rural and provincial areas of both Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.
Enhancing RANZCOG’s commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, John advocated strongly for increased Māori representation on RANZCOG’s Council. John’s support for te ao Māori underpinned the establishment and development of He Hono Wāhine and Te Rautaki Māori me Te Ara Whakamua (RANZCOG Māori Strategy and Action Plan).
John also helped RANZCOG establish ties with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in the UK and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Becoming the Aotearoa New Zealand representative on The Asia and Oceania Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (AOFOG) in 2012 – and becoming Vice President in 2019 – John worked assiduously in developing projects that will improve the maternal health status in low-income countries in the Pacific. In May 2022, John was announced President Elect of AOFOG.
John has made a significant contribution to women’s health, through his clinical practice, his contribution to the profession of O&G, and his participation and provision of expertise on a wide range of working or advisory groups.
A fierce and stalwart advocate for women’s rights and access to safe and equitable healthcare, John’s influence on women’s health in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond is immeasurable.
Today’s honour is thoroughly deserved. Congratulations, John!