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Over the Christmas break in 1972, in freezing London, a time when most good Englishmen seem to find a reason to stay away from work, I was flipping through some old British Medical Journals and discovered the papers of the great New Zealand epidemiologist, Ian Prior. I soaked up his studies in Polynesian populations in New Zealand and the Pacific islands (17).

My boss in Australia, prior to my departure, was the late Pincus Taft. He had a substantial private practice that included the then President of Nauru, His Excellency Hammer DeRoburt. Fascinated by Priorís work, I contacted Pincus suggesting that we should try and set up a diabetes survey in Nauru. That activity became the focus of my attention when I returned to Melbourne. By 1975 we were all set to go to undertake the first population based study of diabetes in the Micronesian population of Nauru (18).