Edward Cameron Watson FRCS(Ed) FRCS (Eng) FRACS
General Surgeon
15 December 1927 - 30 October 2017

Edward (Ted) Watson was born in Dunedin, the eldest child of Vera and Edward Baden Watson. His
father was a surgeon, his mother a music teacher and he had two siblings - Arthur and Diane. Ted’s childhood years were spent in Ranfurly (Central Otago) and later Pahiatua (North Wairarapa) where he finished his primary school education at the Pahiatua District High School. Secondary schooling was as a boarder at Wanganui Collegiate School where he enjoyed sport, particularly tennis, boxing and rugby.

Ted entered Otago Medical School in 1946, securing one of the 30 places held for school- leavers
(returning servicemen were being given preference at that time). A long-time resident of Selwyn College, he was awarded Varsity Blues for boxing and tennis and represented the university in rugby. After completing his MBChB in 1952 Ted moved to Palmerston North as a house surgeon, where in his
words he met the “cool and beautiful” nurse, Margaret Black. They married in January 1955 and within a
couple of months left for the UK.

Ted began his surgical training in Edinburgh, commencing with plastic surgery at Bangour Hospital. There he was introduced to the latest techniques of burns management acquired during the war. Successfully gaining his FRCS(Ed) in 1956, Ted and Margaret returned to London where, during the next three and a half years, Ted gained experience working in Fairnborough Hospital, Kent, in 1956, Charing Cross Hospital and St Marks Hospital during 1959. During this period, he gained experience in colorectal disease and worked with William Gabriel, Sir Hugh Lockhart-Mummery, Sir Clifford Naughton Morgan and O V Lloyd Davies. Living in London, Margaret and Ted welcomed the arrival of three children - Martine
(1956), Michele (1957) and Kristin(1958) – and Ted became FRCS(Eng).

Ted, Margaret and their family returned to New Zealand in 1960, when Ted commenced work at Wellington Hospital and quickly gained his FRACS. His youngest children, Shona, born in 1961 and Edward in 1964, completed the family. Ted worked first as a surgical tutor 1960-61 and then Senior
Admitting and Casualty Medical Officer during 1962. In 1963 Ted was appointed Visiting General
Surgeon at Wellington Hospital, an appointment he held for nearly 30 years until his retirement in 1992.
A skilled and compassionate surgeon with a strong work ethic, Ted was highly regarded by his patients. He also very much enjoyed his teaching responsibilities with his house surgeons and registrars. They appreciated coming into his home for a Sunday night meal with the family. He also had a busy private practice, operating at Calvary (later to become Wakefield) and Bowen Hospitals as well as periods with the Home of Compassion and Kenepuru Hospital in Porirua. He was an active contributor within the Wellington Hospital serving as Chair of the Wellington Senior Staff committee and also the Combined Wellington Hospitals Committee.

Soon after his return to New Zealand Ted became involved in activities on behalf of the College, serving as the national coordinator for Surgical Supervisors for six years, member and Chair of the New Zealand Committee, examining in General Surgery for six years and then chairing the New Zealand section of the Court of Examiners for six years. He was elected to the Medical Council of New Zealand, serving six years. He served terms as an executive member and Chair of the Wellington Division of the Cancer Society and in various governance roles within District Health Boards, then known as CHEs.

Ted believed that with his busy life he needed to be physically fit, a practice he adhered to all his life, playing competitive tennis and squash, cycling, regularly attending the gym and bush walking with similarly fit friends. Ted was one of the first Wellington adopters of the E- bike spending happy hours well into his late 80s riding around Wellington’s bays and out to the Hutt Valley. His active life-style was the subject of a 2015 Radio New Zealand documentary which explored his love of his E-bike.

Ted was devoted to Margaret and their children. While there were legendary family holidays spent
around New Zealand, the family holiday home at Kuratau, Lake Taupo, always held a special place for
him. He loved the lake and its myriad of picnic areas, was a keen fly fisherman, and enjoyed boating and
towing skiers. Surrounded by his family, he was happiest entertaining a close group of friends and their
families. He took a great interest in the progress of this special place and never missed an AGM of the Omori Kuratau Ratepayers’ Association. It was ironic that Ted died the day Margaret was undergoing colorectal surgery.

Ted is greatly missed by Margaret, their five children - Martine (education), Michele (journalism), Kristin
(nurse-researcher), Shona (clinical psychologist) and Edward (physician-researcher), twelve
grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.


Members of the Watson family are thanked for their considerable assistance in the preparation of this obituary.