Vale HK Ibbertson


Professor Henry Kaye (Kaye) Ibbertson, Emeritus Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Auckland and previous Head of the Department of Endocrinology at Auckland Hospital, died on 12 July 2018 age 91 years. Kaye graduated from the University of Otago in 1951 and, after working at Auckland Hospital as a junior doctor, did postgraduate training at the Hammersmith Hospital in London under Professor Russell Fraser, and at the Royal Free Hospital in London working with Dr Shelia Sherlock. He returned to New Zealand in 1963 to head the Radioisotope Unit at Auckland Hospital and went on to establish the Department of Endocrinology at the Hospital in the mid-1960s. As Head of Department, and Professor of Endocrinology at the University (1970-1992), he was responsible for training a large number of younger physicians who have gone on to senior positions in New Zealand and beyond.

His influence extended well beyond the University and Hospital. He held important positions in the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Medical Research Council, the Child Health Research Council, the Auckland Medical Research Foundation, and was a foundation member of both the NZ Society of Endocrinology and the Australian and NZ Bone and Mineral Society. Both these societies have established ongoing awards named in his honour.

Kaye travelled to Nepal with Edmund Hillary on 3 occasions between 1966 and 1972 and studied the effects of iodine deficiency among the Sherpa population, leading to a programme of iodinisation which led to a profound improvement in the health of the Sherpa population. He helped establish a programme for growth hormone replacement in deficient children in NZ, and did much early work on treatment of Paget’s disease and osteoporosis with bisphosphonates.

Kaye had a deep interest in medical history and was a founding member of the Auckland Medical Historical Society which he chaired for many years. He was instrumental in establishing the Ernest and Marion Davis Memorial Library and Lecture Halls on the Auckland Hospital site, a great asset to the local medical community. Kaye was a keen trout fisherman, beekeeper and antiquarian. He made an immense contribution to medical research and practice in New Zealand and Australia, and he will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues.

Obituary contributed by Prof Ian Holdaway and Prof Ian Reid

Publication Date : 16 August 2018