After 41 years of service to the island at Oneroa’s medical centre, Dr Michael Karetai, a rangatira of the Ngāi Tahu iwi, retired last Thursday and staff of the Piritahi Hauora Trust said their farewells to the man who has been a mainstay of the island’s healthcare.
Doctor Karetai originally grew up in an area of the South Island called “The Kaik” before his family settled in Timaru. He was awarded a scholarship to attend the Catholic boarding school St Kevin’s College in Oamaru and became a top student there, earning the prestigious Ngarimu VC scholarship, this time to study medicine at Otago University. While studying he had a brief marriage and his first daughter, Livi.
In 1978 Mike moved to Auckland to begin his medical career. He then met his future wife, Margaret, in 1979. Mike worked as a house surgeon for various hospitals in the area, while Margaret was a medical student in her final year, specialising in obstetrics. • Kerry Lee
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