Doctor likes the rural life

Pondy Lee
Pondy Lee
Coming from a population of more than five million to a population just breaching 500, Doctor Pondy Lee is in for a lifestyle change.

Dr Lee (59), who grew up and studied medicine in Singapore, will take up the role as GP for Roxburgh in December.

Although Roxburgh's 520-odd people might seem a world apart from his home, the countryside is somewhere he has always enjoyed, Dr Lee says.

''Every time I go for a holiday I never go to crowded places, always quiet country places.

''Singapore is completely different from New Zealand, it is a concrete jungle.''

His previous apartment building in Singapore had more people living in it than the population of Roxburgh.

Dr Lee moved to New Zealand in 2010 with his wife, son, daughter, and dog Carly, to give them a more comfortable place to live and grow up, and because he enjoyed the outdoors.

Since then, he had been working as a GP in a clinic in Rotorua.

His family's upcoming move to Central Otago was motivated by a number of factors, and excited him, he said.

The town would provide a quiet atmosphere, with access to the outdoors, and was close to locations such as Queenstown, where he hoped to buy land, and Dunedin, where his daughter was in her first year at the University of Otago.

''The family are excited too, why not? My kids are a bit apprehensive, but not too bad.''

Being in Roxburgh would also provide a base for activities he enjoyed such as fishing, exploring, and rock collecting.

Despite having never been to the town, he was anticipating a ''long-term move'', and looked forward to helping the community.

''I'm looking forward to meeting the people of Roxburgh, certainly.

''I would like to make an impact for people. I'm the sole doctor, so whatever I do will have a big impact.''

Dr Lee begins his role as GP at with Roxburgh Medical Centre in mid December. Locums will fill the role until he arrives.

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