One of New Zealand's top eye surgeons has been awarded honorary Cook Island residency for his work in the South Pacific nation during the past 20 years.
Dr Paul Rosser, a sub-specialist oculoplastic surgeon and founding member of Auckland Eye, is being honoured for his longstanding volunteer work in the Cook Islands, which he has visited almost every year for the past two decades.
Dr Rosser says he was offered the honorary residency because of his long history with the Cook Islands.
"I've been going there since 1992, having made 16 trips and performed around 850 cataract operations. Basically, we perform most of their eye care now in terms of eye surgery and other procedures and consultations, such as diabetic work," he says.
"I think the offer of residency is relatively rare and I understand that it needed to go through Parliament. The idea was first broached to me a few years ago by their Ministry of Health. They asked if I might like to have it, and I said it would be lovely," says Dr Rosser.
During the ceremony on July 10, the Queen's representative will award the residency to Dr Rosser along with some fellow New Zealanders from volunteer medical teams.
Dr Rosser says he fell in love with the Cook Islands when he visited as a young boy travelling by ship to England.
"Soon after I got back from London, where I trained in ocular plastic surgery, one of the doctors who had been volunteering at the Cook Islands was thinking of retiring, and he asked if I'd be interested in taking his place. I haven't looked back since. We now have a team of 2-3 optometrists, 2 medical retinal ophthalmologists and an ophthalmic nurse who make the annual trip".
Dr Rosser has taken his wife and two children on a number of the visits to the Cook Islands and says his family is very excited to have him recognised as an official citizen.
"I really enjoy working with the Cook Islanders. The people are friendly, and the team are a lovely bunch to work with. The Cook Islands is a protectorate of New Zealand, and many of the people who live there know and expect a good standard of healthcare - which we aim to provide."
Popular competitions and giveaways from Gimme.co.nz: NZ's People Powered Guide to Free Stuff. Links will open on Gimme.
Join Voxy on Google+.