Relishing the challenge

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Ron Luxton is privileged to be leading the charge at the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB).

Mr Luxton has been appointed SCDHB chairman, adding to his lengthy career across health and governance roles, including DHB deputy chairman, a position he has held for the past 12 years.

“How did I get here?” he asked.

Mr Luxton has a long list of attributes to suggest he has the ability and experience to take on the role with the same level of passion he has given to other projects.

He had his own pharmacy in Temuka for 35 years and after that continued working in the industry across other parts of South Canterbury.

“But it’s more than just the health sector,” he said, of his community involvement.

“My parents handed me a strong social conscience. I’ve always believed I owe the community we live in a debt.”

Mr Luxton always believed a “deep” involvement with the community was one way to achieve that, prompting him to take on a range of roles over the years.

Those have included being on the board of governors at Temuka High School – now Opihi College – which featured a term as chairman. He was also on the Wallingford Rest Home establishment committee and was once involved in the management of Hospice South Canterbury.

Mr Luxton was chairman of South Canterbury’s MRI appeal, a project which aimed to raise $2.7million for a magnetic resonance imaging machine. Funds exceeded $3million, which meant there was enough to also buy a top-line anaesthetising machine.

Over the years, Mr Luxton has had an ongoing involvement with his church in Temuka and Lions Clubs International.

He progressed from Lions Club of Temuka president to district governor and chairman for New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

He was later elected international director for Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the islands of the South Pacific Ocean.

“This has all been about supporting my community, both local, national and international,” he said, of his various positions.

Mr Luxton was now settling in to his latest role.

His DHB journey started about 16 years ago. At the time, DHBs were being established to take over from Crown Health Enterprises.

“That really started my interest in governance throughout New Zealand,” he said.

Mr Luxton said he felt “incredibly lucky and fortunate” to have dedicated and committed staff in all areas of the sector, from frontline primary healthcare to hospitals, administrators and managers.

And, as he looked ahead to the future, Mr Luxton pondered his journey so far.

“Did I ever intend to be chair of the SCDHB? No. Do I relish the opportunity? Yes.

“Do I hope we can deliver a first-rate health system within the resources available? I most certainly do.”