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The Patterson Visiting Lectureship Trust

The Patterson Trust was created as a charitable trust in March 1979, with an endowment of $15,000 and a purpose of fostering aviation medicine and research in New Zealand. 
It was named after Mr Douglas Augustine (Doug) Patterson who held a lifetime interest in aviation in New Zealand.

Doug Patterson joined the National Airways Corporation (NAC) as Auckland District Manager in 1948 and became General Manager in 1961 and continued as CEO until 1978. NAC was New Zealand’s national domestic airline created by Government decree in 1945, it operated from 1947 until 1978 when, again by Government decree, it was merged with Air New Zealand. In the late 1940’s it did operate some services to some South Pacific island countries using ex-RNZAF Short Sunderland aircraft but is largely remembered for domestic Dakota DC3 services throughout New Zealand.


Doug also oversaw a comprehensive collection of NAC Board papers from 1961 to 1978 and this collection is presently housed at MOTAT in Auckland. Doug died in 1993 but his legacy is to some extent carried on by his niece Louisa (Choppy) Patterson who runs the ‘Over The Top’ helicopter tours business in Queenstown.


Doug was also a chairman of the Aviation Historical Society of NZ and in a speech to that society in 1991 commented on his conversations (along with George Bolt- the NZ Flying School chief pilot) in 1925 with two men who looked after the original Boeing DH9 ‘Bluebill’ aircraft of the (Walsh) NZ Flying School at Kohimaramara. It was the contention that two of these aircraft were transported to Devonport and then buried in tunnels at North Head, however, this has never been proven and the NZ Defence Dept has always denied such claims.


To further digress slightly, Sir Leonard Isitt retired in 1946 as Air Vice Marshall and Chief of Air Staff. He went on to sponsor the establishment of Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL) – the international NZ airline, and was Chairman in 1947. TEAL became Air New Zealand in 1965. Isitt also recalls that some aircraft were barged across the harbour and stored in an ammunition cave at North Head.

The other founding members of the Patterson Trust were Alan Kenning and Allen Erenstrom.
Dr Allen Erenstrom (born 1914-died 1995) studied at Otago and became FRACP in 1973 and practised at Wellington Hospital. He became principal Medical Officer of NAC and was a leading figure in the formation of AMSANZ, in which he was a past President and elected a life member in 1985.

The Objects of the Trust are –
•    To further medical knowledge particularly in regard to aviation medicine and allied disciplines in New Zealand and to facilitate overseas lecturers to present papers at scientific meetings of AMSNZ by contributing to their expenses,
•    To financially support medical research, investigation or educational projects undertaken in New Zealand by members of AMSNZ or other medically qualified persons.

In furtherance of these objectives the Patterson Trust annually supports a Patterson Trust Visiting Lecturer to speak at the Annual Scientific Meetings of both AMSNZ and, our now sister society in Australia, the Australasian Society of Aerospace medicine (ASAM).

The Trust also supports a Scholarship to a doctor practising in New Zealand to assist in the cost of undertaking post-graduate training in aviation medicine.

In 1988 the AMSANZ Society and Patterson Trust were instrumental in the founding of the Post-Graduate course in Aviation Medicine at Otago University. This course has since gone on to become a leading provider of distance teaching as the Otago School of Aviation Medicine and Occupational Health, headed by Dr Robin (Rob) Griffiths. 

The current Trustees of the Patterson Trust as of 2020 are –  
•    Dr. Ben Johnson    as Chairman        
•    Dr Michael Drane
•    Dr David Powell     as member of AMSNZ
•    Mr Paul Murray      as Treasurer


Mr Bill Varcoe is the Patterson Trust Auditor.

The Board reports to the annual meetings of AMSNZ.