Te Karaka Foundation’s second Named Endowment Fund was set up in memory of Dr Basil Clarke by his niece. Dr Clarke was a prominent diabetes specialist who worked in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
He was born in Hawera in 1928, attended Hawera Primary School and Nelson College, studied medicine at Otago Medical School and completed his training in Auckland at Greenlane and National Women’s hospitals. As a house surgeon in Auckland in the mid-1950s he worked with prominent New Zealand medical practitioners, studying cardiology under pioneering heart surgeon, Brian Barratt-Boyes, and working briefly with eye doctor and humanitarian, Fred Hollows.
In 1959, Dr Clarke sailed to the United Kingdom working as a ship’s surgeon. He joined the staff of the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh the next year and remained practicing there for the next 33 years until his retirement in 1993. For many years he was consultant physician in joint charge of the Royal Infirmary’s diabetic and dietetic department. He lectured at the University of Edinburgh and was actively involved in diabetes research.
Dr Clarke returned to Taranaki in 1995, building a home on the New Plymouth foreshore where he could display his collection of Scottish artwork, grow a wide selection of produce in his pottager garden, and pursue his interest in genealogy. While he had mentioned to his family the possible establishment of a trust or scholarship, it didn’t eventuate before his death in New Plymouth in 2013. Now formalised under Te Karaka Foundation, the Dr B.F. Clarke Endowment Fund is an ongoing legacy in his memory for the benefit of Taranaki families. In a few years’ time the fund will make grants to benefit health in Taranaki, particularly helping the families of children with chronic health conditions.