MP’s intervention led to career in medicine
Dr Len Broughton, who died last month, worked for more than forty years at Hastings Memorial Hospital, where he was assistant medical superintendent at the time of his retirement in 1983.
Born on May 3, 1918, he was the son of Wiremu and Warihia Broughton, of Kohupatiki, and lived most of his life in Hawke’s Bay, apart from his studies at Auckland Teachers College, and the University of Otago Medical School, from which he graduated at the end of 1942.
Proudly Ngati Kahungunu, he was brought-up as a child by kuia Heeni Unaiki.
He attended Maungateretere [Mangateretere] School, where he was dux in 1931, before heading to Napier Boys’ High School.
While his heart was set on medicine, he left school for teacher training but thanks to the intervention of Hawke’s Bay MP Ted Cullen, just a term into the course in Auckland, he was off to medical school on a scholarship, which he supplemented with holiday employment at the Whakatu meatworks.
Alongside the studies, he enjoyed rugby with the University A team, and played one match for Otago in the regular southern derbies against Southland.
It was in 1943 that he began as a junior house surgeon at the hospital then known as the Fallen Soldiers Memorial Hospital, and redeveloped in recent years as the Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
The tangi was told that, in addition to his skills and knowledge, Dr Broughton was known for his concern for nursing staff.
He and his wife Margaret (nee Evans, of Ngai Tahu), whom he had met while boarding with her family in Dunedin, had five children and onto them his own sense of achievement in education was clearly passed.
Daughter Jane is a lecturer in English as a second language at Delta College, Stockton, California, son John is associate professor at the Otago medical and dental schools and set to graduate with a PhD next month, second son Philip is a partner in a Dunedin accountancy firm, daughter Anne is a school-teacher in Taihape and third daughter Margot, is an ANZ Bank manager in Napier.
Dr Broughton’s wife passed away last year.
During his tangi at Kohupatiki, memories of his time working in the hospital, where he eventually died on October 18, were recalled by retired former matron and principal nurse Sylvia Frame.
She said that, in addition to his skills and knowledge, Dr Broughton was well-known for his care and concern for the nursing staff.
With Dr Broughton and his family living on the hospital site, it was a close association, and even after he retired, he was still never far away, moving to the other side of Omahu Road.