DR DIANA EDWARDS A tribute from Istar Director Margaret Sparrow
Born 21 April 1923 Deceased 10 March 2014 aged 90 years.
New Zealand born Diana graduated from Otago Medical School in 1948 and then trained in Dunedin, Melbourne and London in obstetrics and gynaecology. She married Bill, also an obstetrician and gynaecologist and they shared interesting careers with their three children in different parts of the globe from Nigeria to the Isle of Wight (where Diana started a cervical smear programme), to Newfoundland, Canada (where she conducted research on the health of the Inuit people).
Towards the end of her career Diana returned with Bill to New Zealand and became the medical director of the Christchurch Family Planning clinic (1983-1988). There she initiated and published some of the first New Zealand research on chlamydia. In those years Diana commuted from their orchard in Blenheim to Christchurch each week, arriving at the clinic on Tuesday afternoon and returning home on Friday afternoon.
When it opened she became the inaugural director of Lyndhurst Hospital, totally committed to excellence in abortion services and working there from 1986-2000, past the usual retiring age of 75.
In 1999 she became a founding director of Istar Limited, appreciating the importance of choice for women in choosing to have a medical as opposed to a surgical abortion. It was Diana who came up with the name for the company – Istar goddess of love, fertility and war who in Diana’s opinion possessed the appropriate attributes for our fledgling company. She contributed the wealth of her experience to Istar only retiring for health reasons in December 2012.
Her community activities included many years as a delegate to NCW for the Medical Women’s Association and ALRANZ. Colleagues described her as totally dedicated and willing to share her many years of experience: a wonderful role model, fearless, pragmatic, always pushing the boundaries, but immensely caring and fun to work with.
In 2015 Istar donated $10,000 towards the Zonta Science biennial award and this will be designated in any formal acknowledgments to the memory of Dr Diana Edwards. The award is to promote the role of women in science and to raise an awareness of the importance of science education for girls, a fitting tribute to Diana.