Burial register ID: 43
First name: ADA
Middle names: GERTRUDE
Gender: Female
Age: 57 Years
Cause of death: Unknown
Burial type:
Date of death: 26-Aug-1937
Date of burial: 29-Aug-1937

Block: 56A
Plot: 5

Bio contributor: Amanda Kennedy

Ada Paterson (1880-1937)

Ada Paterson was born in Caversham in 1880 and went to Otago Girls’ High School. She then went on to study medicine at the university of Otago, graduating in 1906. Around 1908, after postgraduate study at Dublin University, she went to Picton and worked in general practice. She was a very popular doctor and was described as a ‘people’s doctor’. The local Maori community presented her with valued gifts, including mats and a greenstone pendant. Ada left Picton to join the School Medical Service in 1928. Being child-focused, it was within the accepted area for women doctors. She gave physical examinations to thousands of children annually. In her annual reports Ada showed special concern for the health of girls.

Ada was one of the first New Zealand doctors to be interested in children’s mental health as well as their physical health. In 1921 she took a year off to investigate child health and welfare work in Australia, Britain and North America. This increased her interest in ‘mentally backward’ children. When she returned to New Zealand she promoted special classes and schools.

In the 1930s she was also very influential in promoting children’s health camps. These were camps to promote children’s health through the benefits of fresh air, exercise and nutritious food. During the hard depression years the health camps were especially welcome to struggling families.

In 1937 Ada died in Wellington. There were many heartfelt tributes to ‘Doctor Pat’, praising her wit and tolerance. She is commemorated by memorial bells at four health camps in New Zealand.

— See: Tennant, Margaret. ‘Paterson, Ada Gertrude 1880 – 1937’. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

— Other burials recorded at this site:
James PATERSON d. 1907,
Maggie PATERSON d. 1915,
Margaret PATERSON d. 1915,
Elizabeth PATERSON d. 1917,
Thomas PATERSON d. 1925,
and Janet PATERSON d. 1956.

There are 7 Interments in this grave:

Surname First names Age Date of death Date of burial
PATERSON ADA GERTRUDE 57 Years 26-Aug-1937 29-Aug-1937
PATERSON ELIZABETH SMITH 40 Years 22-May-1917 24-May-1917
PATERSON JAMES 74 Years 04-Aug-1907 06-Aug-1907
PATERSON JANET Unknown 01-Aug-1956 01-Aug-1956
PATERSON MAGGIE SMITH 40 Years 17-Jul-1915 19-Jul-1915
PATERSON MARGARET AYTON 63 Years 01-Aug-1915 03-Aug-1915
PATERSON THOMAS OLIVER 43 Years 27-Aug-1925 30-Aug-1925