Garry Nixon, Jeremy Webber, Mark Smith and Harriet Miller are a like-minded group of rural hospital doctors and General Practitioners who will be competing in the 2018 GODZone multisport event. Through this adventure, they hope to raise awareness about rural medicine in New Zealand through the Pat Farry Rural Education Trust and to highlight the fundamental role of exercise, teamwork, and endeavour in improving the health of New Zealanders.

According to the ‘aged one’ Garry Nixon, “to become a rural hospital doctor requires an adventurous spirit, a mild adrenaline addiction, commitment, motivation and the ability to problem solve when situations spiral out of control. These skills and personality traits will bring this team to the finish line of a race such as GODZone.”

The Challenge: 

GODZone is a multi-day, non-stop, adventure style race that is held annually on the South Island of New Zealand. This year’s event will be based out of Fiordland from 1-8 March 2018. The race format involves seven to eight stages involving a combination of navigation, trekking, mountain biking, alpine travel, and kayaking. The full course covers a distance of 500 to 600km and takes from four to seven days to complete.

The Team: 

Garry Nixon is a Rural Hospital Generalist at Dunstan Hospital. He was recently appointed Associate Dean Rural, University of Otago. He is an old hand to both the art of medicine and the New Zealand outdoors. Although he does not often compete in races, he is a well-seasoned trans-alpinist particularly in Fiordland and the West Otago Alps. Garry has climbed several major overseas peaks including Mt Logan and Mustagh Ata. He has spent a significant amount of time ski touring both in New Zealand as well as North America and more recently he has taken to the sports of mountain biking and white-water kayaking. Garry is looking forward to re-joining Mark and Jeremy and now Harriet for another Godzone race, this time in the mountains he has spent the most time in.

Jeremy Webber is passionate about rural clinical practice and the outdoor environment in which we all live. He has a strong interest in medical education and embraces the opportunity to promote the Pat Farry trust in joining the rural hospital team for Godzone chapter 7 in Fiordland. Challenging himself and relying on teammates to navigate their way through New Zealand’s backcountry represents much of the varied and exciting nature of rural medicine, and benefit for all of the exercise in the outdoors. Jeremy is based in Taupo with his young family where they enjoy the full spectrum of the central plateau playground.

Mark Smith is a Rural GP and Rural Hospital Doctor who grew up in Southland with the adventure playground of Fiordland in his backyard. His passion and enjoyment for the outdoors and adventure have led him on tramping trips, up peaks, and along countless mountain bike trails. In recent years he has competed in on and off-road marathons and multisport events.  He previously completed the Godzone race with the Pat Farry Trust team in Kaikoura in 2014. At the time he thought he was retiring from Godzone forever, but the lure of Fiordland beckons. He is excited at the new challenge that this ‘mother of all GODZones’ will offer.

Harriet Miller is originally from the Banks Peninsula and is temporarily based in Wellington. Harriet was a Rural Medical Immersion Programme (RMIP) student in Queenstown in 2012 and was lucky enough to meet Pat Farry through Otago’s Matagouri Club while at medical school. Harriet has competed in the Godzone Pursuit in 2017 (Queenstown) and enjoys a variety of outdoor interests, including ski touring, alpine climbing, tramping and mountain biking. Godzone is a great excuse (not that she needs one!) to get out on lots of adventures and feels grateful to raise awareness for the Pat Farry Rural Health Trust in the process.

Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust Fundraiser Dinner:

The late Pat Farry was a Rural General Practitioner based out of Queenstown who was passionate about Rural Medicine. He devoted his life to improving rural education and in 2007 established the very successful Rural Immersion Programme for medical students of the University of Otago. Unfortunately Pat passed away in 2009 and the Trust has been established in his memory to further develop and maintain his vision.

Noisy gatherings of family and friends around a table laden with Lebanese cuisine are a special memory for many who knew Pat Farry. “We only know 10 recipes but we do them really well” was how Pat described his family’s expertise in preparing the always delicious fare. Liane Farry, Pat’s niece, and her son Samir established Gemmayze St Restaurant in 2016 and it has fast become one of the hottest restaurants in Auckland.

Come and join Gary Nixon and Mark Smith at the 2018 Pat Farry Trust Fundraiser Dinner featuring authentic Lebanese family cuisine at Gemmayze St Restaurant, St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd in Auckland from 7:00 pm, Friday 6 April. Together they will share the teams GODZone experience including challenges, highlights and the synergy with rural medicine.

If you are attending the National Rural Health Conference you can book the Pat Farry Trust Dinner via the conference website or alternatively you can book here. Sue Farry and the Trustees invite all supporters of the Trust including family and friends.



Claire Dooney
Pat Farry Rural Health Education Trust
Tel: 027 632 0821