Introducing board member Chris Menzies

14 September 2020
Introducing board member Chris Menzies

Lawyer Chris Menzies was a perfect choice when it came to seeking out people to play a governance role following the formation of the Southland Charity Hospital Trust. Hailing from the same rugby club as cancer care advocate Blair Vining, Midlands, and a personal friend of the Vining family – for Chris, becoming part of this inspiring project was equally obvious. We asked Chris a few questions about why he wanted to be part of this cause.


Chris Menzies

Occupation and professional background

Partner at AWS Legal, practising for more than 10 years

Roles held with the Southland Charity Hospital Trust

Board member and heading up the legal committee

How did you hear about plans to create the Southland Charity Hospital?

I am the President of the Midlands Rugby Club, so have had a close association with Blair and Melissa Vining

What compelled you to become involved in this cause?

I wanted to support both Blair, Missy and the wider southern region in providing health care to the unmet need. I am also through my family, indirectly affected by the inequity in New Zealand’s healthcare system. My wife’s step-father was also declined a referral for a colonoscopy, and due to the delay in having this investigative procedure completed, his cancer has now spread to other organs. He now has Stage 4 terminal cancer

What are your hopes or goals for the Southland Charity Hospital?

To provide timely medical access to those in need in the Southland and Otago area. This need is not being met through current processes. I hope the Southland Charity Hospital also contributes to decreasing Southland’s appalling statistics for undiagnosed colon cancer, whilst also providing other unmet medical care

Why is the work being done by the Southland Charity Hospital so crucial?

Too many people in our community are having their health issues going undiagnosed, particularly in relation to colon cancer. There are also many other areas of health where New Zealand – Southland and Otago in particular – are falling short and we wish to be able to assist to meet these unmet needs

How will the Southland Charity Hospital make a difference in our community?

Firstly, by ensuring members of the Southland and Otago community, who have been declined a referral by the Southern District Health Board for a colonoscopy, and do not have the resources to fund this privately, are able to obtain a timely investigative procedure. Secondly, to assist in increasing the overall health, well-being and livelihoods of people living in the Southland and Otago region

If the Southland Charity Hospital did not exist, what would life look like for people in our community?

Our community would continue to suffer with the needless loss of loved ones with ongoing delays in being diagnosed and receiving subsequent treatment

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