R. E. F. Matthews

MSc, PhD, ScD, FRSNZ, FNZIC, FRS, ONZ President
NZMS 1966-68
Elected to Honorary membership: 
1988
Affliation: 
Auckland University

Born in Hamilton in 1921, Richard Ellis Ford Matthews was educated at Mt Albert Grammar School and Auckland University. He graduated MSc in 1942 from Auckland. He joined the staff of the Plant Diseases Division of DSIR as an Assistant Mycologist in 1941. He served with the 2NZEF in Italy in the 7 th Antitank Regiment from 1943-45. Dick then proceeded to Cambridge University, where he graduated with a PhD in 1948. During the period 1941 until 1949, Dick was on leave without pay from DSIR, but returned as Senior Mycologist in 1954 and became Senior Principal Research Officer there in 1956. During this time he again took leave without pay to work at the ARC Virus Research Institute at Cambridge.

In 1962 he was appointed Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Cell Biology at Auckland University and served two terms as Head of Department. Dick served on innumerable professional bodies and committees during his professional career. Among the more notable were the International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses (President), the Cancer Society of NZ National Advisory Committee, the Royal Society of NZ Council, the National Committee for Microbiology, the Medical Research Council of NZ, and NZMS.

He was heavily involved in editorial work for many highly-regarded scientific journals including ‘Virology’, ‘Intervirology’, ‘Comprehensive Virology’ and ‘Physiological Plant Pathology’. A true pioneer of plant virology and molecular biology, his research career on virus diseases of plants resulted in the publication of over 150 scientific papers. He was elected an Honorary Member of NZMS in 1988. He retired in 1987 and passed away in February 1995.