Bernard ‘‘Bernie’’ McKone, Cromwell For services to the pharmaceutical sector
Bernard ‘‘Bernie’’ McKone always looked likely to become involved in medicine.
His mother was a nurse, he served as a cadet with St John and worked as a delivery boy for a pharmacy in Dunedin while at secondary school.
‘‘The subjects lined up and I ended up going to pharmacy school,’’ he said.
He started his primary schooling in Westport, then returned to the West Coast after graduation for an internship in Greymouth.
In 1983, he went to Gore for one week as a locum, ‘‘and became entrenched for 38 years’’.
‘‘I was always more comfortable in the rural sector where you had a long-term relationship with many of your patients.’’
He has held roles on pharmaceutical and health organisations since the 1990s, and helped set up clinical pharmacist services in general practices in Gore and Invercargill.
Being made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit came ‘‘out of the blue’’, but he was glad to see the importance of pharmacists recognised as their role in medicine increased.
‘‘I think pharmacy is the unseen face in the medical sector.’’
He contributed to normalising conversation around men’s health by discussing the issues on radio and running men’s health stalls at popular events such as Field Days.
‘‘I think the success for me was when my son at 16 or 17 would talk about men’s health issues.’’
In 2015, he was named Pharmacist of the Year by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand, and last year received the society’s highest award, the Gold Medal.
He saw his role within pharmacy as a mentor and an advocate. As he moved into retirement he planned to continue in assessment and consulting roles.
Within the wider community, Mr McKone was heavily involved with sports, was current president of the Cromwell Rotary Club and participated in musical theatre, with a role in Les Miserables scheduled in Clyde in May.