A street in Dunedin’s Leith Valley has been named ‘Fred Hollows Way’ in memory of the famous Kiwi eye doctor who restored sight to countless people in the developing world.
The celebration was attended by Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull, Fred’s daughter Tanya Woolcott and her husband, Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand, His Excellency Peter Woolcott, as well as Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, Andrew Bell.
The street is in the new subdivision of Three Hills owned by developers Ellen and John Dunckley. They named the street after Fred because of his connection to Dunedin and their admiration of his sight-restoring work.
“With this small gesture we hope to carry Fred’s message to the next generation,” says Mrs Dunckley. “Perhaps some children will read the sign and be inspired to work for The Foundation, raise money for their work, or even decide to restore sight with their own clever fingers.”
Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull expressed his delight that the Dunckleys chose to honour a Dunedin-born legend who changed the lives of millions.
“Fred spent the first seven years of his life in Dunedin and then later returned to study at the University of Otago. Those formative years in Dunedin helped to shape Fred into an extremely determined and compassionate man who simply wanted to help people in need.”
“Naming a street after Fred is a great way to honour his connection to the city and his legacy of helping people across the world,” says Mr Cull.
Andrew Bell, Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, echoed Mr Cull’s sentiment.
“The Foundation is extremely grateful to the Dunckleys for remembering Fred in this way. Fred fought tirelessly for a world where no one is needlessly blind and his Foundation has now restored the sight of more than two million people across the developing world.”
Fred was a formidable force who was known for his sheer-bloody mindedness and tendency to tell it how it was. Determined everyone should have access to high quality and affordable eye care, he dedicated his life to bringing down the cost of cataract surgery.
David Coulter, who studied with Fred in Dunedin, has fond memories of a man who liked to push the boundaries.
“Fred was his own man. He liked to challenge boundaries and was happy to be different. He’s the only person I’ve met who was disappointed when Hillary and Tensing completed the first ascent of Everest. Their success removed the challenge to be first up the mountain, which no-one else could ever aim for. He loved a challenge.”
“I’m not surprised at what he accomplished because his personality was not inhibited by convention. He had the drive and innovation to face the challenges that he saw and cared enough to do something different, no matter what.”