Meeting – September 6 2018

Meetings of the Society
Auckland Medical History Society

The next meeting of the Auckland Medical History Society will be held in the Ernest and Marion Davis Library at Auckland City Hospital on

Thursday 6 September 2018

The evening will be as follows:

  • 6.00pm: Refreshments will be served in the Ernest and Marion Davis Library
  • 6.30pm: Buffet Dinner will be served in the dining room
  • 7.30pm: Guest presentations*


  1. ‘A menace to health:  Auckland’s slum housing 1935-1949’                      Presented by Ella Arbury
  1. ‘Where have all the heart attacks gone and why?’  Presented by Prof Rod Jackson


  • Members: $32
  • Non-members and guests: $40
  • Students with ID: $18
  • Glass of wine: $5
  • Bottle of wine: $20
  • Table water and juice are complimentary.

Please pay for your dinner and wine vouchers in advance, then collect the vouchers with your name badge on the night of the dinner.


  • Send the names of attendees to with confirmation that you have made payment to the Auckland Medical History Society account: 02 0160 0237509 00 via the internet, or cheque (made out to the Auckland Medical History Society) and sent toE Holst, AMHS Treasurer, PO Box 482, Orewa 0946  for dinner +/- wine vouchers.
  • If no e-mail access call Diane on 0274 305 326 with the names of attendees, method of payment and your phone number.
  • Final booking time, and cancellations: Please provide your booking details by midday on Mon 3 September 2018.  Cancellations with refund or credit of any payment made will be accepted by phone or email as above until noon on Weds 5 September 2018.  Please pay in advance of the evening so that we can pay our caterers before the event.

*Payment is not required if you are attending the presentations only.

Presenter, Ella Arbury

Ella Arbury is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Auckland. She was born in Auckland and has a MA (first class honours) in History. Her MA thesis was a history of breastfeeding in New Zealand from 1900 to 1963. She is currently writing her PhD thesis about the connections between housing and health in Auckland from 1918 to 1949. Her research interests include medical history, architectural history and twentieth century New Zealand social history.

Abstract: ‘A menace to health’: Auckland’s slum housing 1935-1949

Despite the election of the first Labour Government in 1935 and their famous state housing programme, Auckland’s slums continued to be considered a danger to the health of slum inhabitants and the wider Auckland community during the late 1930s and 1940s. Slum housing was exacerbated by the Second World War. This was a result of reduced housebuilding in Auckland (construction workers and housing materials were required for defence purposes) and wartime urban migration. Many of these new Auckland inhabitants were only able to find shelter in this city’s overcrowded slums. Furthermore, slum housing threatened to undermine the health of potential soldiers and war workers, and as a result was viewed as potential risk to New Zealand’s war efforts. After the Second World War, Auckland’s slums remained inhabited by those who were not allocated a healthy state house and were unable to afford better private housing during Auckland’s continued housing shortage. This presentation will survey the period, focusing on the features of slum housing and those factors which contributed to its persistence.

Presenter, Rod Jackson

Rod Jackson is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.  He was born in Te Kopuru, near Dargaville and grew up on a farm nearby.  He trained in medicine and completed a PhD in epidemiology at the University of Auckland and is a fellow of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.  He has over 35 years of research experience in cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemiology and his main interest is the direct application of epidemiological research to clinical practice and public health policy.  For the past 15 years his research has been increasingly focused on CVD risk prediction and he leads a ‘big-health data’ research programme.

Abstract: Where have all the heart attacks gone and why? Insights from ecological level evidence.

Age and sex-specific coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality rates have fallen by over 90% (not a typing error!) in New Zealand since they peaked in 1967. The major causes of CHD are well documented and include raised blood LDL cholesterol (caused mainly by high saturated fat intake), raised blood pressure (caused mainly by high salt intake, overweight and increasing alcohol intake), cigarette smoking and raised blood glucose (caused mainly by overweight). Blood lipids, blood pressure and smoking have been declining for many decades while blood glucose (and overweight) began increasing more recently. The first 25 years of the decline in coronary heart disease was almost certainly due primarily to falling levels of the first three risk factors while over the last 25 years, improvements in case fatality due to advances in secondary care have made a major contribution. This presentation explores how ecological level evidence is a powerful tool that can provide important insights into the relative contributions of risk factor changes and population-based versus medical interventions to the unprecedented decline in CHD mortality.