The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons’ (RACS) annual surgeons’ meeting - taking place at Te Papa and online - offers a programme featuring leaders of the contemporary health landscape, including surgeons and other clinicians, as well as government health bosses, and public health and policy academics.

Speakers include the Director-General of Health, Dr Diana Sarfati, Te Whatu Ora CEO Margie Apa and Te Aka Whai Ora’s Riana Manuel.

Also presenting will be Dr Victoria Atkinson, Chief Medical Officer of Australia’s only national private hospital operation Healthscope; Dr Maxine Ronald, a general surgeon who last month became the first woman to be awarded the RACS Māori Health Medal; and Dr Curtis Walker, a practising nephrologist and Chair of Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa - Medical Council of New Zealand. Health Minister Ayesha Verrall is expected to visit on the first day of the conference.

Dr Chris Adams, a Wellington plastic surgeon and one of the conveners of Surgery 2023: Surgical care in health system change, says the event is a unique opportunity for collaboration.
“It’s not often you get so many thought leaders together in one space. At a time when the Aotearoa health system is navigating a period of unprecedented challenge and change, Surgery 2023 is a chance for education, reflection and knowledge sharing. We’re looking forward to some thought-provoking sessions and lively discussions. 

The delegates are surgeons working across nine surgical specialties on the front lines of Aotearoa’s health system. We expect our speakers may learn as much from them as the other way around.”

Dr Nigel Willis, orthopaedic surgeon and co-convener of Surgery 2023, says the event is as much social as it is educational.

“As surgeons, we often get siloed in our various specialties and yet we have a lot in common and share similar challenges and opportunities. To gather with surgeons from across the spectrum of RACS’ specialties and from around the motu gives us a chance to explore our shared perspectives and think about how together we can pave the way for improved surgical care for our communities.”

Cardiothoracic surgeon and co-convener Professor Sean Galvin says that with the election looming and growing scrutiny of the health reforms, the theme of the conference - surgical care in health system change – is prescient. 

“You don’t need to be a surgeon to get something out of this event. There is something for everyone involved in New Zealand’s health system.”

As well as speaker sessions there will be panel discussions, a supplier exhibition, a welcome reception and dinner, and presentations from the finalists of the Louis Barnett Prize for advanced surgical academic research. 


Find the programme and speaker bios: (PDF 1.26MB)

Media contact:

Diana Blake: [email protected]/021 0247 8454