The first operation at Waikato Hospital was carried out by candle-light 125 years ago, on a man who had gunshot injury.
James Daley had the thumb and two fingers of his shattered left hand amputated on 17 May 1887.
The operation was carried out by Dr George Kenny in a makeshift theatre.
Mr Daley of Pirongia, then called Alexandra, was looked after by his brother, because no nurses had yet been appointed at the hospital.
He recovered well and 50 years later was presented with a silver teapot in recognition of being the hospital's first surgical patient.
In contrast, the 125th anniversary began with a more complex operation; a 72-year-old Cambridge man underwent a two-and-a-half hour laparoscopic appendectomy on Thursday. He was in a stable condition.