Topic: Tribute To Doctor Peter Lippa By Roy Stoneham

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Mayor Roy Stoneham wrote the following tribute for Doctor Peter Lippa's death in the Kawerau Gazette 13 October 1976.

Dr. Peter Lippa

"Heaven, I think, is probably an open road to be trodden with a loved one, a road with hills of hope ahead and valleys of bitterness behind."

So wrote Peter Lippa of the moment when he and his bride faced the great mountains of Eastern China and as he described it "freedom".

For five days they walked happily with their two dogs, their possessions piled high upon two hand carts but under the escort of two soldiers. Behind them was left the frustrations of work undone, the disappointment that the necessary and much needed and willingly given service to the people of China, was to end. For Dr Peter Lippa a career as a surgeon was ending and for the second time a new life and a new beginning in a new country was to be faced.

Perhaps indeed those five days were in heaven. "To enjoy the countryside, to talk freely, to breathe the fresh free air and to laugh in the sun". To be just for themselves. For over those mountains and that new beginning was the rebuilding of a career and over 20 years dedicated service to the people of Kawerau. Years in which the burden of the responsibility to their calling seldom allowed an escape together to the freedom of the open road and the hills ahead.

For thirty years Peter Lippa had lived close to the Danube. He exchanged the Danube for the Yellow River and finally the Yellow River for the Tarawera River and the waters of Lake Rotoiti. We would hope that it was beside our New Zealand waters that he eventually found both professional fulfilment as a man of his time.

In an era of Kawerau's growth that boasted as many true and genuine personalities as did the gold towns of Otago, Peter Lippa stood and stayed supreme. There would be few who did not have their moments with him and even fewer who will not remember him other than with cheerful affection. He was a man who would not willingly lose, be it an argument or a game of chess. He was a man too who gave freely of himself as he perceived the need. He did so quietly, so that his generosity is little known. One gift which illustrates much that was Peter Lippa was the donation of the greater part of his library to the Kawerau College.

He enjoyed his bridge and was an active member of the Kawerau Bridge Club for many years. The Lippa Cup remains the first major tournament of the Club. The Chess Club which he also supported, knew of his enthusiasm and generosity. He found time amidst his busy schedule to represent the Borough, as our first member, on the Bay of Plenty Hospital Board. Perhaps of his known community activities his association with the Kawerau Rotary Club and the Kawerau St. John Ambulance Association will be most frequently recalled.

He was a foundation member of the Kawerau Rotary Club. A foundation member of the Rotary Club formed in December 1960, Peter served the club as vice-president in 1962-63 and then most ably led the Club through a successful year as president in 1963-64. In 1964-65 Peter was invited to serve on the Rotary District Committee as a member of the World Community Service Committee, responsible for the promotion and development of international service projects aimed at improving the well-being of people of the under-developed nations. As a much travelled person Peter was fully acquainted of the needs of the under-privileged world populace. During his Rotary service he promoted projects which were aimed at improving world understanding between peoples of different nations, and particularly directed his efforts towards assisting the international projects orientated towards direct assistance to individuals of the under-developed countries. Peter's enthusiasm and foresight in promoting the Club's financial support for "Rotary Foundation" has earned the Club commendation from Rotary International. The objects of Rotary Foundation are specifically aimed at promoting world understanding and providing various types of educational study awards for teams of young men. and also for individuals. A mission hospital and school in Western Samoa have cause to be grateful to Peter-he was a generous Rotarian. The motto of Rotary "Service Above Self-he profits most who serves best" was upheld by Rotarian Peter during the fifteen years of membership of this worldwide service organisation.

He was also a foundation member of the Kawerau St. John. Doctor Lippa was appointed as the first Divisional Surgeon when the Kawerau St. John Ambulance Brigade was formed in 1955. Later that year the St. John's Association was formed with Doctor Lippa becoming the first president. The early meetings of the Association were held in the small waiting room of his original surgery. His dedication to the St. John movement never faltered. His main objectives for the Order was firstly gaining a section and secondly a hall. The section was achieved by Dr Lippa persuading the Crown to establish the River Road section as a reserve for St. John Ambulance buildings. The first ambulance garage was built with timber donated by the original contractors of Tasman Mill "F.M.R." Dr Lippa then turned his committee's eyes to a more modern and up-to-date building. This took some 91/2 years for that goal to be reached. The main fund raising scheme for this project was the sixpence-a-week ambulance scheme-the first to be introduced anywhere in New Zealand. Building of the St. John Ambulance Hall commenced in 1964 and on completion in 1967 Dr. Lippa decided that the time had come for him to step down as president. For his services to the Order Dr. Lippa was appointed as a serving Brother of the Order of St. John. Dr. Lippa has been responsible for many local residents gaining their first aid certificates, a task which took up much of his valuable time. We will always remember his sense of humour but, more than this, drive along River Road, look at the Ambulance Hall and say-There is Doctor Lippa. We shall not forget.

As when he left us on retirement he wished for no acknowledgment of his contribution to our community life, so today in accordance with his wish, there will be no memorial service. It remains perhaps for each of us in our hearts to carry our memory of his humour and of his sustained dedication. To extend to Sigrid and Heidi our deep sympathy and to offer them both our affection through the days ahead.

Roy Stoneham.

Kawerau Gazette, October 13, 1976 pg. 2.


Tribute To Doctor Peter Lippa By Roy Stoneham

First Names:Peter
Last Name:Lippa
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Tribute To Doctor Peter Lippa By Roy Stoneham by Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License