David Whittet
Family Physician and Film Maker

I am a family physician, writer and independent film maker, working in Oamaru, in the stunning Waitaki region of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island.

I am passionate about rural general practice, both in New Zealand and worldwide and I have spent the past two decades working in rural practice. I recently practiced in the rural community of Kurow, in the heart of the Waitaki Valley, providing medical care to a large rural area, encompassing both the North Otago and South Canterbury regions.

Prior to moving south to the Waitaki region in January 2011, I practiced at Te Karaka, a rural community in the Gisborne region of New Zealand, for sixteen years. Gisborne is the most easterly city in the world and thus the first to see the sun every day. We were the first to see the new millennium and more recently, the first to see the new decade. My practice at Te Karaka was a high needs community with a 70% Māori population, extending 142 kms on New Zealand’s state highway 2.

I have been on the Executive of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners over the past decade and was the Deputy President from 2005 to 2009. During this time I held the rural portfolio and endeavoured to ensure that rural issues were forefront in College decision-making.

I work on the World Organization of Family Doctors (Wonca) Working Party on Rural Practice and have worked on a number of projects develop family practice networks in some of the poorest parts of the world.

Outside medicine, my passions are for cinema and film making and for music. Film making has been an integral part of my life since my teenage years. With my term of office as Deputy President of the College completed, a new film became top priority and Amiri & Aroha has proved highly successful on the international film festival circuit.

I have also been researching a book on Beethoven’s medical history from the perspective of a recently found lock of his hair and a book on Robert and Clara Schumann and their relationship with the young Johannes Brahms.
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