Who is this man?


People want to make him New Zealander of the Year.

He has a twitter account and tweeting his memes and a fan base dubbed “Bloomers”.

He has had a song written about him; hand towels bearing his image have sold out, but you can still get the T-shirts and tote bags.

Colleagues describe him as “measured, methodical, calm and sensible”.

Former health reporter Tess Nichol, writing for the American online magazine Slate, described him as “New Zealand’s current obsession, an unlikely heartthrob, a mild-mannered health care hero”.

It is Dr Ashley Bloomfield, New Zealand’s director-general of health.

At  1 pm each day, offering a steady and sure message for a country in lockdown with a lifetime’s worth of experience, skills and training geared towards the crisis we are now experiencing.

“There’s an incredible congruity between what he thinks and how he lives his life. He’s a person of incredible integrity, with regard for others, and humility,” says  Damon Plimmer.

Plimmer grew up with Bloomfield in Tawa and went to school with him at Scots College.

More recently had contact with him again when the Bloomfields moved to Eastbourne; Plimmer was the vicar at Eastbourne’s Anglican church, St Alban’s.

“He was able to balance work life and home life so well for someone whose job makes such demands.”

The Bloomfields’ connection to the church was a path to faith but also to community.

It’s a link both Plimmer and former Presbyterian vicar Reuben Hardie recall.

There’s no hidden agenda with Ash,” Hardie says. “He’s in that role for the right reasons. He’s very easy going, gets on with everyone.”

Plimmer watches the 1 pm updates and sees the Bloomfield he recognises from Eastbourne, “with a sense of humility and service”.

“This isn’t about him. It’s about the wellbeing of this country”.

“I have a huge amount of confidence and trust in Ash”.

“I can’t think of a better person to be Director-General of Health at this time,” Plimmer says.

Bloomfield and wife Libby, who is also a doctor have raised three children. They are either nearing the end of secondary school or studying at university.

The Bloomfield family’s faith connection continues through St Alban’s Church, where Libby Bloomfield is a member of the vestry.


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News category: New Zealand.

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