Friday May 11 2018 marks a significant change in general practice for Kaitaia Health Centre.

This will be the last day of general practice for Dr Douglas Mearns who will be entering a well deserved retirement after a long career dedicated to the health and wellbeing of those under his care. Dr Ian Smit will also be reducing his practice to two days per week at Kaitaia Healthcare Centre and joins the team at Whakawhiti Ora Pai as their general practitioner for the remainder of the week. Drs Mearns and Smit have been an integral part of healthcare in Kaitaia. We thank them for their amazing contribution and wish them both well in their differing journeys.

Dr Kathy Bakke and Dr Pete de Wolfe will continue to provide care at Kaitaia Health Centre, with Dr Smit on a part time basis supported by long term locums. Familiar faces including Bella Stevenson and Jeanette Rupapera remain at the clinic and continue to support the wonderful care.

Te Hiku Hauora wish to celebrate the contributions of Drs Mearns and Smit with the wider community. We are therefore hosting an open day at the clinic on Friday May 11 2018 with light refreshments provided to enable anyone who wishes to come and wish them well to do so.

A farewell note from Dr Douglas Mearns below

It seems a lifetime away since Pam and I arrived in Kaitaia with our young family. It was a leap of faith, looking for a better future for our children in a fairer open society. We were accepted into the Far North with generosity and support. Kaitaia has been our home now for almost 33 years. It has been my privilege to work within our community first as a Physician Anaesthetist at the Hospital and then as a GP for the last 27 years.

Much has changed in rural NZ over this time. Kaitaia has weathered the changes but they have taken their toll on our already disadvantaged population. In the same vein Medical Practice has undergone change after change with increasing complexity, expectation, computerization, compliances and demands. The time has come for me to step down and move to the next phase of my life. Every person with whom I have had contact over the years has enriched my life. It is my pleasure to have served our community. I will miss you all.