The Masonic Chair Of Geriatric Medicine is a Chair of Medicine within the University of Auckland’s Department of Geriatric Medicine.
It was established to commemorate the Centenary of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand in 1990.
The Freemasons Charity contributed to a Capital Fund of approximately $2 million along with other bequests and donations from individual Lodge members.
Today the Geriatric Capital Fund stands at $2.6 million. Funds have been invested and it is the interest earned from the Capital Fund that finances research in the Geriatric Unit.
The Geriatric Unit was initially sited at the North Shore Hospital in Auckland. This medical unit was the first full chair established and funded by a community group in New Zealand.
While there are several privately funded Chairs in the Medical School, the Chair in Geriatrics is the only privately funded Chair that has a full back up of technical and secretarial services.
The Geriatric Unit was officially opened by the then Minister of Health, Dr Michael Bassett, on 12 December 1986. The Unit has since been relocated to the Middlemore Hospital Complex in South Auckland.
From humble beginnings in 1986, the University Geriatric Unit has established a reputation for academic leadership in the field of geriatric medicine and gerontology (the science of ageing).
In 2002 the name of the “Masonic Chair of Geriatric Medicine” was changed to the “Freemasons Chair of Gerontology” to reflect changes in aged care.
Today, the concept of developing a Centre to look at aging as a whole is continuing and from a practical teaching perspective, a close liaison is required with patients.
The work of Professor Martin Connolly and his predecessors has been of world class, now in today’s world the study of gerontology is growing in status and attracting more attention with its endeavour to keep our older people more mobile, more useful to society and more valuable citizens.
Gerontology is the scientific study of ageing and the problems associated with elderly people
The Freemasons Charity has provided approximately $2.6 million in funding for the Chair of Gerontology.