Irwin Hunter Hanan 23.04.1934 - 06.04.2021

The family of Dr Irwin Hunter Hanan is sad to announce his passing on the 6 April 2021, aged 86. 

Irwin Hunter Hanan was born on the 23rd of April 1934 in Dunedin, New Zealand. 

He was born into a medical family. His grandfather Irwin Hunter graduated from the University of Otago and completed his medical training in London under the eminent urologist Harry Fenech in 1897. He was one of the early, if not the first urologist in New Zealand. 

Irwin attended and excelled at John McGlashan College, representing the school in rugby, cricket and athletics, receiving the school award for best rugby and cricket player in his final year. He was deputy head prefect and runner-up for Dux in his final year. 

At Otago University, he excelled academically, topping his year in anatomy, and was subsequently invited to teach anatomy to first-year students. He continued his love of sport and was selected in the University of Otago rowing first X111 winning the National Championships twice for which he received a University Blue.

At the age of 25 he left New Zealand to continue his medical training in London. Life was challenging in the post-war era in London. Job opportunities were scarce, working conditions were poor and remuneration was terrible. His first role was a 6-month residency at the Royal Northern Hospital training under the famed surgeon Robert McNeil Love. He was recommended to apply, and was successful, in his second 6-month residency at Kingston upon Thames, allowing him to complete his casualty experience required for the fellowship. His final 6 months residency was at St James Balham, training under Norman Tanner and Jeremiah Burke, the leading gastric and urological surgeon of the era. He subsequently passed his fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons. He then worked for a further 2 years as a registrar surgeon for both Tanner and Burke, increasing his experience with many rare and interesting cases that had been sent to Tanner from all over England and abroad.

In 1964 he met and married Libby Nash and together they left England for Canada to work under the Scottish Urologist Andy Bruce at the Kingston General Hospital in Ontario. Irwin learned the technique of TUR transuretheral resection and managing reflux in children. This was a formative learning experience for his future career.

He subsequently left Canada to return to New Zealand to work in Christchurch as a Senior Surgical Registrar. In 1967 he sat and passed the fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Urology.  He was appointed to head up the new Renal Unit at the Hamilton Hospital, during this waiting period he managed to find a 6-month surgical locum in Cooma in the Snowy Mountains of NSW Australia. Meeting so many interesting rural pastoralists during this time here, changed his medical path to pursuing a life in Region Urology and rural interests.

He finally settled on the South Coast of New South Wales at Nowra, becoming the first resident surgeon for the area. He was instrumental in the upgrade of the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital and worked with other specialist Doctors in the design of the Community Private Hospital. He also arranged for many medical specialists to consult in the local and Milton/Ulladulla area. In the early 1980s, along with several fellow urologists, Irwin contributed to the funding of a lithotripsor in Sydney, instrumental in removing (in some cases) the need for invasive surgery to remove renal stones. 

Irwin maintained the senior surgeon role in the Shoalhaven until 1992 and spent the last ten years of his career continuing his Urological practice. He retired in 2002. 

He worked tirelessly and selflessly for the local community, sacrificing much of his personal time to ensure the wellbeing of those in need. 

Irwin was a keen naturalist and historian. He loved breeding cattle and poultry, a passion he held until the end. He loved fly-fishing returning to New Zealand every year to fish the mountain streams of his youth. Above all, he loved his family and friends. He was a kind, gentle and humble man. 

His wife Libby, children Katie and Campbell, and grandchildren Pippa, Sophia, Harry and Stella loved him dearly. 

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