Heart Foundation chief executive Tony Duncan (left) and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull at the opening of the Heart Foundation's new base in Hanover St. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Hit by a "massive" heart attack at the age of just 37,
Dunedin woman June Gold was told her life had changed for
good and there were some things she would never do again.
Now 81, she remembers the shock of being told she would not
be able to do many chores central to her role as a mother of
four. The list of forbidden activities included hanging out
washing and picking fruit.
But that changed when she was referred to Dr Ted Nye, a heart
physician at Dunedin Hospital and co-founder of the Phoenix
Dr Nye encouraged heart patients to exercise rather than
merely rest, which raised quite a few eyebrows, Mrs Gold
Both were present at the official opening of the Heart
Foundation's new Otago headquarters in Hanover St, Dunedin,
Chief executive Tony Duncan, of Auckland, said the foundation
was honoured by Dr Nye's attendance, as he pioneered many of
the ideas now central to the foundation's work.
At the time, the rehabilitation and prevention methods
practised through the Phoenix Club, a New Zealand first, were
quite controversial, Mr Duncan said.
He said the foundation was pleased to retain a central
location near Dunedin Hospital and the Dunedin School of
Medicine, having left its former Dunedin base because of
Asked about the heart health club, Dr Nye was keen to credit
the late Prof John Hunter with its inception in 1967.
Dr Nye said he was part of the Dunedin group which, in line
with developments overseas, became interested in preventive
cardiology. This entailed getting cardiology patients up and
At the time, there was little people were told to do after a
heart attack except rest.
"People were critical. They thought it was a bit over the
Dr Nye (86), a former associate professor at the University
of Otago, retired 20 years ago.
Mrs Gold said Dr Nye told her: "You don't need rest, you need
She remembered when Dr Nye took heart patients to walk the
Milford Track, which sparked a lot of public comment,
including a story raising concern in the Otago Daily
"[Some people] were sure someone would die."
She joined the Phoenix Club at the instruction of Dr Nye and
was still an active member decades later.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull attended the opening, strongly
praising the foundation's work.
• Mr Duncan told the ODT he yesterday had a meeting
with Diabetes Otago, which remains in the Frederick St
building the two organisations co-own. He presented Diabetes
Otago with a figure to consider for the foundation's share of
The ODT reported yesterday Diabetes Otago wanted to stay in
the building, and might carry out earthquake strengthening
work of about $250,000.