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Last updated: 17 December 2019

Cotter Medical History Trust, a.k.a. Cotter Medical History Museum

About Cotter Medical History Trust, a.k.a. Cotter Medical History Museum

The Cotter Medical History Trust, is registered as the Charitable Entity CC38402, originally established in 1998. Its Board includes representatives of significant medical institutions.

Originally constituted by retired surgeon Pat Cotter in 1998, the Museum is maintained with the archival support of retired colleagues. Their mandate is to collect, preserve and display artefacts of a medical nature.

A major file of biographical notes, recording the achievements of doctors, dentists, technical, managerial administrative and nursing staff who have been employed in the health professions of Canterbury, is augmented with a museum of medical implements, equipment, photographs, architectural plans, documents, pharmacological memorabilia, and books relating to all aspects of health care within New Zealand – is anticipated to be one of the largest such collections in the country.

Recently the Trust has been spurred to acquire the Stephen Clark microscope collection, containing about 150 instruments of varying degrees of perfection - the oldest, a compound microscope manufactured in 1765.

Exhibits, public presentations, and visits to the museum have been, and may be arranged for interested parties. At present there are 40 static displays in Christchurch Hospitals, clinics, health centres and laboratories. The Trust has also equipped a school dental clinic, and a model 1940 doctor's surgery in houses at the Lady Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Heritage Trust's Heritage Village.

Much of the material which has been collected for the Trust/Museum has been donated. Further dontations are more than welcome, but it is neccessary for the Trust to reserve the right to discard redundant items, as space is at a premium and to date, the collection awaits permanent accomodation .

Originallly housed in the Hagley Nurses Hostel, The Trust collection and workroom is temporarily located on the Hillmorton Campus of the Canterbury Hospital Board. A permanent location for the collection is uncertain. In the future the Trust anticipates improving access to its materials, but it is hoped for an office with a more central disposition.

For further elucidation please see the website Cotter Medical History Museum, indicated below.

A telephone call to the Christchurch Hospital between the hours of 9.00am and 12.00 midday on a Monday or a Friday of each week, will be referred to the archivists, or a message may be left . Emails are monitored continually.

Trustees represent :
Canterbury District Health Board,
New Zealand Medical Association,
Canterbury Medical Research Foundation,
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellows in Christchurch,
School of Medicine in Christchurch, Otago University, Dean or substitute,
Administrative Authority of Christchurch Hospital, CEO or substitute,
Elected Trustees
Cotter Family.

Collections held in the Trust rooms
*Individual biographical records [Collection 1];
*Clipping files prepared by Rachel Milner [Collection 2] ;
*Photographic files [Collection 3];
*Medical equipment and implements [Collection 4];
*Steven Clark Microscope Collection [Collection 5];
*Sunnyside records with Seager, other administrative and staffing history prepared by Andrea Grieve [Collection 6];
*Local biographies [Collection 7];
*Nurses biographies [Collection 8];
*Pharmaceutical products and chemists equipment maintained by Claire Le Couteur [Collection 9];
*A library of pre-1950 medical books and biographies of many of Canterbury's medical practitioners maintained by librarian Raewyn Turner [Collecgion 10].

Publications include:
*'Silent treasures tell their stories' [ compiled and written by Bramwell Cook];
*'Early medical practitioners in the Manawatu and Palmerston North, 2012'; 'The Gunns of Whataroa', c 2010 written by Richard Rawstrom;
*'Pills and Potions of the Cotter Medical History Trust' written by Claire LeCouteur

We have 257 collections in The Community Archive (with a total of 251 items) »

Facilities and services

Contributor type:

  • Museum or art gallery
  • Special/research library or institution
  • Voluntary organisation
  • Individual Biographies

Archive types:

  • Other educational records
  • Personal papers
  • School records
  • Voluntary group archives, clubs, societies, etc.
  • medical equipment and medical paraphernalia of all descriptions


None, but a donation would be most welcome

Visitor information

Opening hours:

Opening hours by appointment but normally staffed on Monday or Friday mornings

Onsite parking:

On site parking available outside building (see map)

Physical access:

Access can be arranged

Contact details

Contact person:

Patrick Cotter
Rachel Milner


Hillmorton Hospital, Annex Road

Postal address:

Christchurch 8041

Phone number:

  • +64 3 3640640 on campus, leave a message