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Dr van der Oest is the eldest son of former Tapanui residents Alison and the late Chris van der Oest, who owned the Tapanui Courier for more than 30 years.
Dr van der Oest was a pupil at the former Tapanui District High School and then attended Gore High School in 1974, Mrs van der Oest said.
He was Gore High School's head boy in 1975 as well as head hostel prefect and Gore High School rugby team vicecaptain, she said.
Dr van der Oest trained in general practice and then specialised in public health, Mrs van der Oest said.
He worked in Dunedin in general practice before working in Hamilton in an accident and emergency centre.
Dr van der Oest and his wife Ria have three children and recently returned to Hamilton after living in Darwin for nearly six years.
He was a member of the Northern Territory Public Health acro-medical team [flying doctor service] and coordinated the operation from his New Zealand base, she said.