Vu Van Suu - George Gordon

Submitted by Editorial team on

Extract from interview with Helen Frizzell, 11-12 June 2009

Reproduced with permission of George Gordon

That's a photo of Doug Short and Vu Van Suu, on Doug Short's departure back to New Zealand after his six-month term there as the surgeon leader.

What was he [Vu Van Suu] like for starters?

He was a big man with a loud voice. And, one always knew Suu's level of irritation by the sound of his voice. And, it is true that some of the Vietnamese on the staff would cause him some irritation at times. And he was very colourful and voluble, and had a very, very good command of English. And also, in the medical terminology because he was a qualified nurse, he'd been a chief nurse, and was recruited earlier on by the [New Zealand Surgical] Team as their interpreter. So, he was a presence within the hospital because of his background, and he was a great friend of the Team.

And, after I got back from New Zealand, at the end of my tour, we managed to get Suu over on a Fellowship and he spent some time in New Zealand. And, I went back to Central Otago then, and I remember a delightful week or 10 days that Suu spent with us. And, I would take him to work with me in the morning. He just became part of the scene and participated in whatever I was doing.


Vietnam War Oral History Project, Manatu Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage

How to cite this page: ' Vu Van Suu - George Gordon ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 18-Oct-2021