H. S. Gilberd Memorial Medal  announcement – October 2021

At the 2021 AGM on 30 October 2021 President Rochelle van Eysden awarded Mr Peter Grimmer the prestigious H.S. Gilberd Memorial Medal.

Rochelle in asking Peter to step forward to receive the medal had this to say:

Peter's  services to optometry, for which he worked unceasingly, are like those of HS Gilberd, worthy of recognition. Those of you who remember Phil Turnbull's lecture on prescribing practices of optometrists in New Zealand may recall the potted history of professional development. From approval to use DPA agents in the nineties, achieving the right to use therapeutic drugs, being accorded authorised prescriber status to present day ability to issue standing orders, Peter Grimmer was at the front of the battle throughout. Peter always strived for the advancement of the profession and holding fast to the highest clinical and personal standards.

Throughout his career Peter has held many important positions within the profession which has given him a wide perspective and enabled him to contribute so very much to optometry.

Peter is a past Chair of the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board, a past President of the New Zealand Society of Contact Lens Practitioners (now the Cornea and Contact Lens Society) and a founding Fellow of that Society and a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

Peter is a recent past Board Director of the Optometry Council of Australia and New Zealand (OCANZ) and the immediate past Chair of the OCANZ Accreditation Committee.

Peter has just completed his third and last term as a member of PHARMAC's Pharmaceutical and Therapeutic Advisory Committee (Ophthalmology) – having served 9 years in that role

On top of all that, Peter has maintained practice as a clinical optometrist, and has at various times, lectured, published papers in peer reviewed journals, examined final year optometry students and participated in the accreditation of the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Auckland.

Peter chaired the assessment team that resulted in the accreditation of the fledgling Discipline of Optometry at Flinders University in South Australia.

In 2008 Peter was awarded the Snowvision Downunder Scholarship to the State University of New York College of Optometry where he gained valuable experience in specialist examination techniques, glaucoma care and paediatric optometry.

Peter is married with 3 young adult children, he’s interested in music, movies, books, wine, food and snow skiing.

About the Award

The H. S. Gilberd Memorial Medal  was struck in memory of the late Mr. H. S. Gilberd, to be awarded for meritorious service to Optometry.

The history of the medal dates from a meeting of the Institute of Optometrists, Central Executive Committee held on the 7th May 1951,

Mr. G. E. Cox suggested that the memory of the late Mr. H. S. Gilberd be perpetuated by the Institute in some suitable form. He felt that Mr. Gilberd’s services to optometry, for which he worked unceasingly, were worthy of recognition, and that the Institute should treasure the memory of his long association with them.

Born 1881 at Napier, Mr Gilberd made his first acquaintance with optics on starting work at the age of 17 with Mr. A. Levi, Optician, of Wellington. Leaving New Zealand in 1900 he spent 7 years in England, studying at the Northampton Polytechnic Institute and the Herbert College, Edinburgh and later taking his F.S.M.C examinations, successfully qualifying as an optician before returning to New Zealand.

Mr. Gilberd was first President of the Wellington Optical Association formed in 1921 and he took charge of the work of gathering the optical men of the Dominion into one body – the Institute of Opticians. He was elected its first President in 1922 and held this position right through the Legislative campaign which culminated in the establishment of the first regulatory Board - the State Opticians Board.  Mr. Gilberd together with Mr. Young was appointed as one of the two optician representatives on the Board.

Thus was the HS Gilberd Memorial Medal struck in 1952 from a die costing £20 18 shillings paid for by foundation members of the Institute. The criteria for the award of the medal are:

  1. The award shall be made for outstanding service rendered to optometry.
  2. The award shall be made at infrequent intervals.


H S Gilberd Award Holders

Brooke-Taylor, Roydon

1954 - 1968

Cox, George Edward

1958 - 1968

Atkinson, Henry

1963 - 1984

Rose, Albert Henry Thomas

1963 - 1988

Grosvenor, Theodore Park

1969 - 2009

Russell, Henry Charles

1980 - 1983

Ritchie, Neil Graham

1985 - 2015

Nicholls, Vivian Harold

1986 - 2003

Moss, Desmond Clyde

1996 - 2019

Tarbutt, John Geoffrey


Mills, Keith Winstone

1998 - 2013

Stevenson, Peter John


Grocott, Lex Barclay

2007 - 2012

Jacobs, Robert


Grimmer, Peter