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I rarely buy my hometown paper, The Christchurch Press, but on seeing the front page of today’s edition I realised that yesterday’s fire in Little Akaloa, near Christchurch, was at the bach of Sir Don Beaven. He has since been confirmed that he died in the fire.

Sir Don was a local hero, his bust stands in bronze outside the Art Centre at old university site, near the Christchurch Clinical School that he helped to found. He was a pioneer in diabetes treatment and promoter of many public health initiatives.

His diabetes work is recounted in A Canterbury tale: this is your life, Don Beaven in Diabetes Voice June 2004 issue by Elizabeth Home (PDF copy available). A more formal summary of his academic background can be found at his webpage at the Department of Communication Disorders, University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.

My condolences to family and colleagues.


For those from overseas “bach” originally meant a bachelor’s crib or small house but now usually refers to a small get-away-from-it-all place in the countryside.