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History of the Aviation Medical Society of New Zealand

A branch of the British Medical Association of Australia was formed by 15 doctors on 25th November 1949 in Melbourne as the Special Group on Aviation Medicine. In 1962 the Special Group’s name was changed to the Aviation Medical Society of Australia. By 1972 the membership was 258 and due to the large numbers joining from New Zealand the Society was renamed the Aviation Medical Society of Australia and New Zealand (AMSANZ).
In 1978 the Society was Incorporated formally in Australia but after discussion it was agreed that the two bodies should be incorporated separately in each country to become distinct legal entities. On 29th January 1997 the New Zealand branch became the Aviation Medical Society of Australia and New Zealand (NZ Inc.)

In 2003 AMSANZ-Australia changed its name to the ‘Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine’. In 2009 AMSANZ-New Zealand changed its title to the ‘Aviation Medical Society of New Zealand (Inc.)’.
The two societies continue to share the same Objects and Rules, maintain close contact and attend each others conferences.

AMSNZ is closely associated with the Patterson Visiting Lectureship Trust. This is a charitable Trust established with the purpose of fostering aviation medicine educational activities in New Zealand. The Trust is named after Mr Douglas Patterson who was the last General Manager of National Airways Corporation (NAC) which later became the domestic division of Air New Zealand. Doug Patterson had a lifetime interest in aviation and was a staunch supporter of the Society. The Patterson Trust continues and sponsors a visiting lecturer to the annual conferences of both ASAM and AMSNZ along with other sponsorships and prizes.

ASAM has a similar John Lane Trust. Dr John Lane was a Foundation Member of the Society, an ex-RAAF medical officer and the inaugural Director of Civil Aviation Medicine (CASA) in Australia. He died in 1999 aged 81. The John Lane Trust also sponsors a keynote speaker at the Annual Scientific Meetings in both Australia and New Zealand.

The two Societies have separate Annual Scientific Conferences but usually closely timed so that the visiting lecturers can attend both events.

A more detailed history compendium of the joint Societies was compiled by Dr Peter Wilkins (Australia) and is available on ASAM's excellent website here.


The more recent history of AMSANZ - later to become AMSNZ - follows :

 AMSANZ  1999 –

1999 :
President: Rob Griffiths; Treasurer Brian Spackman, Tim Sprott, Hugh Tapper, Editor Dave Powell, Webmaster Peter Dodwell (Aust Ion Morrison)
Combined triennial conference Cairns, Reef Hotel
Patterson speaker: Dr Allen Parmet (USA)
Lane lecturer: Assoc-Prof Meng Kin Lim (Singapore)
Len Thompson awarded life membership of the Australian branch of the Society.
CAA PMO Kathleen Callaghan

Conference Christchurch (Chateau on the Park) – VP P Dodwell
Patterson Speaker :  Prof. Rod Jackson or Prof Grunstein
Lane Speaker :  Col. David Salisbury (Canada)  
Flight-Fit cardiovascular assessment (Richard Milne) trialled and reviewed by Prof Rod Jackson; Committee presentation to the Scott-Gorman Report (which cost $105,266);
CAA audit publicly suspended Dr Bill Daniels.

President: Tim Sprott; VP Brian Spackman, Treasurer Dave Baldwin, Sara Souter, John Eliott, Hugh Tapper (Secretary), Tony Hochberg, Claude Preitner (Aust Gordon Cable)
Conference Rotorua (Novotel Hotel)
Lane speaker: Dr Melchor Antunano (FAA)
Patterson Speaker : Prof Michael Joy (UK) 
Dorothy Potter made an Honorary Member
Dougal Watson new CAA PMO, Pooshan Navathe & Claude Preitner SMO’s, John Jones Director of CAA
A review of the Civil Aviation Rule Part 67 is done by Corkill & Janvrin (cost $86,500)
Aviation Industry groups (P6) combine to challenge and win a Judicial Review on whether CAA (the PMO) was exceeding the statutory powers in requiring pilots to meet standards not specified in Rule 67.
The Civil Aviation (Medical certification) Amendment Bill 2001 is passed by Parliament effective April 2002.

Conference Sydney (Regent or Four Seasons Hotel) + ICASM
?  Claus Curdt Christiansen, George Takahashi, Mike Bagshaw, John Ernsting
Mary Scholtens QC does a review of the development process of CAA Rules, resulting in an Aviation Consultation Advisory Group being formed in 2004.

President: Bill Daniels; VP Tim Sprott, Treasurer Dave Baldwin, Secretary Sara Souter, Tony Hochberg, Brian Spackman, Denis Pezaro, Graham Robinson, Jon Nelson, Webmaster John Faris
Conference Auckland (Carlton Hotel) combined with ANZSOM  (Aust Hamilton Island)
Patterson Speaker: Col. Mike Lischak (USA)
John Lane Speaker: Col. Rich Williams (USA)
DME’s (ME2’s) will be required from now (until 2004) to have a higher aviation medical qualification to continue to examine licence applicants. As a result of these new regulations and responsibilities, 50% of our examiners withdraw their services as not being cost-effective.

Conference Christchurch (Millennium Hotel) combined with ANZSOM  (Aust Adelaide)
Peter Chapman made an honorary member & presented a guest lecture.
Patterson Speaker: Tony Evans (UK CAA)
John Lane Speaker: Prof. John West (USA)

Combined conference International Hotel Gold Coast Australia.
Patterson speaker: Phillipa Gander
John Lane speaker : John Caldwell

President: David Powell; VP Brian Spackman; Secretary Sara Souter, Treasurer Graham Robinson,  Rob Morton, Tim Sprott, Bill Daniels, Jon Nelson, Mike Kahan.
Mini-Conference Auckland 
Patterson Speaker: Paulo Magalhaes (Brazil)
John Lane speaker: Col. Bob Ireland (USA)
ME2 authorities are withdrawn by CAA and NZ society membership has dropped from over 250 5 years ago, to around 60 (ME1) members today. This has resulted in there being no examiners in some areas and shortages in most parts of the country.

Conference Queenstown (Millennium Hotel) combined with ANZSOM
Patterson Speaker: Prof. Keith Petrie (NZ)
John Lane Speaker: Prof. Charles Watson
Steve Douglas Director of CAA; Australian President Air Commodore Warren Harrex

conference Wairakei Hotel combined with ANZSOM
Patterson Speaker : Capt. Mike Allsop
John Lane Speaker: Jim VanderPloeg (USA)

President: Brian Spackman; Secretary Sarah Aldington, Treasurer Graham Robinson, 
Dave Powell, Tim Sprott, Anton Wiles, Rob Morton
John Faris made honorary member. Graham Robinson killed in a cycle accident October 2009. 
The NZ Society changes its name to the Aviation Medical Society of New Zealand (NZ Incorporated) -  AMSNZ
Combined conference with ASAM at Port Vila, Vanuatu hosted by NZ
Patterson Speaker: Dr. Petra Illig (Space Associates Alaska)
John Lane speaker : Bill Griggs (Australia)

2010 :
Conferences associated with NZMA meetings Rotorua (June) and Christchurch (August)
Patterson Speaker : Prof Rod Jackson (Auckland)
ASAM Canberra – Lane Speaker : Andrei Catanchin (Perth)


2011 :

Conference at the Air New Zealand Aviation Academy, Saturday 1st October during the Rugby World Cup.

Pattterson Speaker : Dr Peter Liu  (Sydney)

Lane Lecturer : Dr Ray Johnston  (UK)


2012 :

Conference associated with ANZSOM, Queenstown, Saturday 22nd September.

Patterson Speaker :  Prof. Michael Bagshaw   (UK)

Lane Lecturer :  Dr Jon Clark   (USA)


2015 : 

Conference associated with ANZSOM, AUT, Wellesley Street, Auckland, Saturday 5 September.

Patterson Speaker : Dr John Roberts, Chief Medical Officer, NATS, UK

Lane Lecturer :  Dr Giles Clement, Director of Research at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Centre, Bron, France.


2016 :

Conference at CAA Offices, 55 Featherston Street, Wellington, Saturday 10th September 2016

Patterson Speaker : Dr Kevin McCauley (Honolulu)

Lane Lecturer : Dr Tony Evans (Montreal)


2017 :

Conference combined with ASAM, hosted by AMSNZ - Queenstown New Zealand 31 Aug - 2 Sept 2017

Patterson Speaker : Dr Anthony Wagstaff (Norway)

Lane Lecturer : Dr Robert Thirsk (Canada)

ASMA Guest speaker : Dr Quay Snyder (USA)


2018 :

Conference at Classic Flyers Museum, Tauranga Saturday 18 August 2018

Patterson Speaker : Dr John Caldwell (Florida, USA)

Lane Lecturer : Mr Sam Bailey (Croppa Creek, NSW, Australia)


2019 :

Conference at Rydges Hotel, Wellington Saturday 28 September 2019

Patterson Lecturer - Captain David Fielding (BALPA / British Airways)

John Lane Orator - Dr Thomas Smith (Head, Aerospace Medicine, Kings College, London)