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Trust Board Chairman Graham Malaghan reflects on his memories of the Malaghan Institute

24 October 2013

This November issue of the Malaghan Institute Scope newsletter (Issue 52) shares some of the inspirational stories of the people and organisations who play a role in the success of the Malaghan Institute. These stories compelled me to share a few personal memories of my involvement in the Institute’s journey.

My first memory of what could be called the start was attending an afternoon tea at Wellington Hospital in 1967. The event, hosted by Sir Charles Burns, marked the gift from my father and mother, Len and Ann Malaghan of some 200,000 shares in their company General Foods Corp Ltd. The gift was to establish the Haematology Fund of the Wellington Medical Research Foundation.

Sadly, my father died from cancer later that year, but our family remained closely involved in supporting medical research. Our mother, Ann, was keen to support cancer research and in 1985 she provided funds for a considerable array of equipment for the Wellington Cancer and Medical Research Institute. The Institute wanted to reach all New Zealanders by dropping the regional description and asked Ann if she would consent to a name change. Ann agreed, much to the surprise of her family.

By 1989 the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research found itself so short of funds that the partners decided they could no longer maintain its operations. John Beattie, then a senior Brierley Corporation Manager, encouraged me to become involved. The board resigned, a new Trust was agreed to by the High Court and the Institute became fully autonomous and set a new course. I became Chairman at that time and several brave Trustees, including John, joined me. Like me, John continues as a Trustee on what has been an exciting ride.

Today Professor Graham Le Gros and his team of some 85 staff and researchers concentrate around a core of immunology research, with specific application to cancer and inflammation/allergy. The recent announcement by the Health Research Council of New Zealand of a $6.2 million investment into allergy research here at the Institute shows how far we have come.

In sharing these memories of my involvement with the Institute I realise there are simply too many individuals and organisations to thank. The success of the Institute has been driven by the goodwill of people like you and I thank you for joining us on the next stage of our journey.

This article features in the November 2013 issue of our Scope newsletter (Issue 52).  Download the full newsletter here - 611 KB (PDF)