Pacific Way Update – April 2018

The PPTC has recently published a book which covers the past 30 years of its history and training activities at the Wellington Centre, the South Pacific and Asian regions.

This account will be of interest to the many members of the Institute who have contributed so much to the success of the PPTC over this period.

Please contact the PPTC for a copy. The cover page is illustrated below:

PPTC History

The intention of the book is twofold: to provide a record of this period and to foster a continuing interest in the development of the health laboratory services of the Pacific Island and Asian regions.

Despite its small size and limited resources, the Centre has become a major player in the development of medical laboratories and blood transfusion services in the Pacific Island region. It is also a small but significant part of the New Zealand overseas development aid programme.

The PPTC began with the aim of providing short-term technical training programmes in basic medical laboratory disciplines which would be appropriate, affordable and sustainable and could bring immediate benefits to the work settings in which they would be used.

While the PPTC has broadened its laboratory training programmes to meet the changing needs and new demands of the region’s health services, this philosophy still remains the Centre’s focus in 2018.

The Centre has international respect for the excellence of its programmes and has provided a continuing source of training and technical expertise for health laboratory workers throughout the Pacific Island and Asian regions.

 This contribution was recognised when the Centre was designated a Collaborating Centre of the World Health Organization in 1990 and it continues in this role to the present time.

In recording these events it is fitting to say that none of this would have been possible without the initial and continuing support of the following organisations and people:

  •  New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • New Zealand Red Cross
  • World Health Organization
  • New Zealand Institute of Medical Laboratory Science
  • Wellington Hospital
  • Department of laboratory Services , Wellington Hospital
  • New Zealand Blood Transfusion Service
  • Norman Kirk Trust

 About the Author 


Dr Ron Mackenzie (QSO, PhD, FNZIMLS)  the co-founder of the PPTC and author of the book is a retired medical laboratory scientist who led the PPTC from its earliest days on the Wellington Hospital campus. He is a life member of the NZIMLS  and worked in hospital medical laboratories from the early 1950’s in Kaitaia, Auckland, Masterton, Invercargill and Wellington.  He worked as a WHO and Red Cross medical Laboratory consultant,   and was a member of the first New Zealand Civilian Surgical Team to Qui Nhon, Vietnam in 1963. Ron was awarded the QSO in 1993  for the major role he had played in the development of the medical laboratory and blood transfusion services of the South Pacific and Asian regions.

Newly appointed staff to the PPTC


It is with pleasure that the PPTC Board of Governance welcomes Vichet Khieng to join the laboratory specialist team. Vichet graduated in 2008 with a Batchelor of Medical Laboratory Science from the University of Otago and majored in both advanced clinical biochemistry & diagnostic molecular pathology. In 2010, soon after gaining registration as a medical laboratory scientist while working at Dunedin hospital, he acted as technical manager at the Hawkes Bay community laboratories. He was responsible for the biochemistry department including reviews of the internal and external QC, manuals, and preparation for IANZ auditing. Vichet relocated to  Wellington in 2012 and joined the department of biochemistry at Wellington hospital. He has had wide experience in NZ hospital and community laboratories and will be a valuable addition to the PPTC staff.

External Quality Assessment in Haematology


Elizabeth Tough

Is a New Zealand registered medical laboratory scientist who has over 50 years experience in the leadership of blood film examination and evaluation.

In 1967 Elizabeth underwent 5 years of professional training at Wellington hospital and on completion, became scientist in charge of the general haematology laboratory and chief morphologist in the years to follow. She also became the hospital laboratory expert in blood parasitology and bone marrow preparation for microscopic evaluation.

Elizabeth has worked with the PPTC as a lecturer in blood parasitology and more recently has accepted the shared role of coordinator and haematology consultant for the PPTC’s haematology EQA programme