“We are all honoured to have had this experience and received your teachings over the years.” Judy Davis and Dr Mike Karetai hongi. Photo Tessa O'Shea

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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