Retired South Canterbury doctor surprised and humbled by proposed park name

Dr Rodger Hilliker sits on a tractor in the unnamed reserve of St Leonards Rd in Temuka, who has proposed to Timaru District Council to name the park after him.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Dr Rodger Hilliker sits on a tractor in the unnamed reserve of St Leonards Rd in Temuka, who has proposed to Timaru District Council to name the park after him.

A retired doctor who has devoted his life to medicine in south Canterbury is “hugely touched” by the proposal to name a park in Temuka after him.

Dr Rodger Hilliker was a general practitioner in Temuka from 1961 until his retirement in 2010, and for some periods was the only general practitioner in town.

In the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honors List, Dr Hilliker was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services as a GP and in 2017 he was admitted as a Fellow of the Order of Saint John.

Members of the Temuka community want the unnamed park of St Leonard St, Temuka, to be renamed Dr Hilliker Park when the proposal is discussed at the Timaru District Council Community Services Committee meeting on Tuesday.

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Dr Rodger Hilliker said it would be a

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Dr Rodger Hilliker said it would be an “honor” to have a park named after him.

Dr Hilliker said The Herald Timaru was “a bit shocked” to hear about the idea, but said it was an honor.

“The people (Temuka) are very nice, and it was a pleasure to serve the community,” he said.

“Having something permanent dedicated to your name is beyond humbling.”

Dr Hilliker moved to South Canterbury after growing up and attending Dunedin University, starting as an internal surgeon at Timaru Hospital before moving to Temuka.

The first 12 years as a general practitioner in Temuka were part-time as he was a part-time anesthetist for Timaru Hospital, he said.

Dr Rodger Hilliker has been a general practitioner in Temuka for almost 50 years.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Dr Rodger Hilliker has been a general practitioner in Temuka for almost 50 years.

The report from the council’s director of parks and recreation, Bill Steans, follows a request from the Temuka Community Board and follows a proposal from Lance Scott, an officer of the Order of St John and part of Temuka St John alongside Dr. Hilliker.

Nearby residents were consulted via letter and there were four responses in favor of the proposed name, and to date none against, the report said.

The community council supported the nomination at its August 22 meeting, subject to any comments from Te Rūnanga o Arohenua who have been approached for comment.

If the proposed name is adopted, the financial implications will be limited, the report says.

Timaru District Council will decide weather to accept the proposed name change from St Leonards Road Reserve to Dr Hilliker Park.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Timaru District Council will decide weather to accept the proposed name change from St Leonards Road Reserve to Dr Hilliker Park.

“The only potential cost would be for a sign that would be a few hundred dollars and could be funded from existing budgets.”

The report states that Dr Hilliker has made an outstanding contribution to the Temuka community and to New Zealand medicine.

“Some members of the community are grateful for all he has done over the years and want to recognize his accomplishments,” the report said.

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