Family and friends of Ronald MacDiarmid gather around the
plaque and the Alem Stormcloud rhododendron planted in his
honour. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Family and friends of the late Ronald MacDiarmid gathered
in the Lady Thorn Rhododendron Dell in Port Chalmers yesterday
morning for a special planting ceremony to honour his memory.
Dr MacDiarmid served as the Port Chalmers doctor and port
health officer for 34 years, from 1952 to 1986.
Daughter Anna Cahill, who flew from Australia for the
ceremony, said her father had a close interest in the garden
and enjoyed a strong friendship with Constance Lady Thorn,
mayoress of Port Chalmers from 1956 to 1989 as wife to Sir
Mrs Cahill thought the ceremony was a fitting way to remember
her father's life on the first anniversary of his death. Port
of Otago infrastructure general manager Lincoln Coe spoke of
Dr MacDiarmid's immense contribution to the port.
''As port health officer, he was in charge of screening any
ships that made first landing at Port Chalmers, so he was
crucial in protecting the local and regional community, all
in addition to his role as a local GP, which is unique.''
Almost 50 people attended the ceremony, with many of his
family flying from Australia.
Former deputy mayor Les Aitcheson said Dr MacDiarmid would be
remembered as a very kind and understanding man, who loved
boysenberry ice cream.
''He was always more interested in health than wealth. Money
was never a priority.''
The Lions committee chose to plant an Alem Stormcloud
rhododendron, thought to be suitable for a man so dedicated
to the region.
- Liam MacAndrew.