Peace Researcher 38 – July 2009
- Nick Wilson
Nick Wilson is the Chair of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (NZ). This obituary was also published in IPPNW (NZ)’s June/July 2009 newsletter.
Ian Prior, who was well known to the
*See “SIS Spied On
Peace Movement For Decades”, by
Ian was particularly
good at engaging young doctors and medical students (myself included, back in
the early 1980s) in a way that made them feel part of an important and
worthwhile national and international effort. Another attribute was Ian’s
ability to attract key international people to
Together with his late wife Elespie, Ian also provided critical financial resources to help IPPNW, particularly through the IPPNW Education and Research Trust. Elespie also provided strong and sustained emotional support to Ian, and frequently helped host IPPNW meetings at their Wadestown home. Ian contributed to many publications by IPPNW and other peace groups – and helped ensure that these were well produced, launched and distributed. He also contributed to various research projects, including work on the impact of nuclear testing .
The contribution that Ian made to nuclear disarmament activities has been well recognised, including in the book “The Health of Pacific Societies – Ian Prior's Life and Work”. George Salmond also spoke eloquently about his important role on National Radio (1/3/09, Radio NZ). Furthermore, IPPNW (NZ) has recently deposited its key documents with the National Archive and this means that future historians will be able to study more closely the contribution that Ian and his colleagues have made in the disarmament field.
There was also other public recognition for Ian’s long and varied contributions to disarmament, the environment, to the arts and to advancing public health. In 1988 he was awarded an Honorary DSc. (Victoria University of Wellington) and in 1996 he was inducted as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). Various articles expand on Ian’s contributions in these other fields (e.g., [2-5]), but to me his contributions to advancing public health and disarmament particularly stand out.
Although never an ABC
member nor involved directly in our branch of the peace movement, Ian Prior was
an extremely generous donor to the CAFCA/ABC Organiser Account which provides
1. Pearce N, Winkelmann R, Kennedy J, Lewis S, Purdie G, Slater T, Prior I, Fraser J: "Further follow-up of New Zealand participants in United Kingdom atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific". Cancer Causes Control 1997, 8:139-145.
2. Pearce N: "Ian Prior and epidemiology in New Zealand". J Epidemiol Community Health 2009, (Published online 26/4/09).
3. Salmond G: Ian Ambury Miller Prior [Obituary]. N Z Med J 2009, 122:122-123.
4. Wallace C: Dr Ian Prior: MD2. ECOLink, March/April 2009:11.
5. Kitchin P: "Ian Ambury Miller Prior: Doctor, activist, patron of the arts". Otago Daily Times 2009, (11/4/09).