Our History

Toward the end of the 1980s the Section of Vascular surgery of the Division of General Surgery of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons required new members to undertake a one year training program post fellowship in an approved centre in Australia or New Zealand but with no formal assessment on completion. This was a step forward for the coming of age of Vascular Surgery. The vascular sectional meetings at the time of the Annual Scientific Congress of the college had grown in strength during the 1980s , and the main international meeting was the International Society of Cardiovascular Surgery with an increasing involvement of Australasian vascular surgeons.

At Beppi’s Italian Restaurant in Sydney in 1991 Bill Shirer, Andre van Rij, Murray MacCormick, Ross Blair, and Lindsay Spilman ( Obex) agreed that it was time for a New Zealand society of Vascular surgery to be established. With the inaugural meeting of the Vascular Society of New Zealand held at Wairakei February 1992 , with guest speaker Mr. Colin Strachan from the UK, the society was launched. Annual meetings continue in Feb, with distinguished visiting speakers and attended by surgeons, radiologists, physicians, and associates including sonographers, radiographers and nurses. In addition the meeting provides a forum for vascular surgical trainees ,junior surgical staff and students to present papers.

At the inaugural meeting Bill Shirer was elected the first president of the Society and he is celebrated with the Shirer Lecture which opens the scientific sessions of the annual meeting.

The Society is forever grateful to Lindsay Spilman and Linda Roberts of Obex for their support through the years.

When drafting the constitution of the society in 1991 it was considered important that membership required participation in audit of their vascular work through the newly established Otago Vascular Audit. The value of this had been shown by the Swedish Vascular Audit, Swedvac, lead by David Bergqvist. The data provided not only an audit of competence, but also assisted in planning vascular surgical services. Ian Thompson chaired the audit committee for many years , and this has been ably continued by Jo Krysa, both from Dunedin. With the establishment of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Vascular Surgery, replacing the Division of Vascular Surgery in the RACS, in the late 1990s , the audit data is now collected by that group , with the New Zealand data still monitored by the NZ Audit Committee, and presented at the Vascular Society of NZ meeting.