Dr Jeff Friis, a young GP from Tauranga, commenced practice in Katikati in 1978. He worked from his home, a former vicarage in Park Rd, until the arrival of Dr Tessa Turnbull when the two formed a partnership to build a brand new Medical Centre on its current site.
Previously the town had been served by Dr Joe Burstein in a government financed rural practice. Joe, a young Austrian Doctor had been interred in Dachau concentration camp by the Nazis prior to WWII until a friend secured his release and financed his immigration to New Zealand. Initially, Joe worked as a hotel porter but was eventually persuaded by his friend that his talents were being wasted and so he repeated his clinical training at the Otago Medical School. Dr Joe then practiced as a solo General Practitioner for 40 years in Katikati. A portrait of Dr Joe commissioned by the Katikati Mural Art Society can be seen in the town centre.
The vision of the original shareholders was realised in 2003 as the last major extension was completed and a separate company Katikati Health Centre Ltd was formed to build the complex. Katikati Medical Centre is just one of the tenants providing health services in the “one stop health shop”.
The current Katikati Medical Centre shareholders and practising GPs are Sue Armstrong, Sue Blake, Gordon Miller, Vicky Jones, David Anderson, Lorna Riding, Laurens Klopper and Jess Ussher.