Sir Archibald McIndoe was born on the 4th May 1900, the second of four children of John McIndoe, a printer in Dunedin New Zealand.
He attended Otago High School before studying medicine at Otago University. He qualified in 1924, winning medals in both medicine and surgery. After qualifying, he was appointed house surgeon at Waikato Hospital. In the same year he was awarded the first New Zealand Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in the United States, where he worked as a First Assistant in Pathological Anatomy for three years. During this period, he published several papers on hepatic disease including two individual papers on the importance of portal cirrhosis and on the structure of the bile canaliculus. He was subsequently awarded a John William White scholarship for foreign study and in 1929 was appointed first assistant in surgery at the Mayo Clinic. Whilst in America he met Lord Moynihan, who was so impressed with his surgical skills that he recommended a permanent career in England.