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Pioneering is part of who we are

Pioneering is part of who we are. That’s why each Ryman village is named after a Kiwi or Aussie trailblazer. Anthony Wilding, Lady Diana Isaac, Evelyn Page to name a few. They lived with passion and purpose, they pushed further, they went beyond the ordinary. That’s exactly what we strive to do every day at Ryman. To pioneer a new way of living, for a new retirement generation.

Jean Sandel (19161974)

With a reputation for being a meticulous operator, Jean Sandel grew from a talented school student into a respected surgeon known for going above and beyond for her patients. Her patience, stamina, technical skill, and deep knowledge of surgical anatomy set her apart.

Following her studies, Sandel spent the war years as a surgeon at Wellington Hospital before relocating to England for 4 years of postgrad work. Here, she broke new ground as a female surgical registrar.

Sandel returned to New Zealand in 1950 to be one of two surgeons at New Plymouth Hospital. An avid cricket fan, she often snuck away to watch matches at Pukekura Park. If she were needed for emergency surgery, the match commentator hung a white towel from the commentary box.

During surgeries, would often stand on a box so her taller, usually male, assistants wouldn’t have to bend over for long operations. By 1964 she was leading a staff of 8 and focusing her remaining energy on the need for a new hospital. A hard worker with clarity of thought and fearless determination, Sandel performed more emergency duties than required and tended to her patients at all hours. Later in her career, she pioneered cardiovascular surgery for provincial hospitals.

Sandel’s biography was written by Victor Hadlow and can be found online in the Te Ara Dictionary.