David Whittet's Blog
Family Physician and Film Maker

Farewell to Te Karaka

Farewell Party at Te Karaka 82

After fifteen years at Te Karaka, today was my last working day at the Waikohu Medical Centre. It has been a tremendous privilege to live and work in the Waikohu Community and I am so grateful to everyone who has made my family and I feel so welcome and so much a part of this wonderful community.

It was inevitably a very sad and highly emotional day as I had to say goodbye to so many people who have been so much a part of my life over these fifteen years. The community held a farewell party for me at the Te Karaka Fire Station this afternoon, which was a moving and very touching ceremony.

In my valedictory address to the people of Te Karaka, I recalled my very first morning at Te Karaka, on 1st May 1995. Each successive patient that morning addressed me in French: “Bonjour docteur!” “Comment allez-vous?” I began to think I had stumbled on a small outpost of French Polynesia when one patient thankfully said: “Would you mind awfully if we continued in English?” I later discovered that the locum who had worked at the clinic before I arrived had mistakenly told them that I was French!

This little anecdote for me sums up so much of what is wonderful about Te Karaka. A community that would take the trouble to learn some French just to make their new doctor feel at home, that is something very, very special.

Click here to view all the photos from the farewell parties at the Te Karaka Fire Station and the Bushmere Arms