Culture & Events

Freedom of the City Award Recipient – Dr Noel Karalus

Image of Mayor Southgate and Dr Noel Karalus, recipient of a Freedom of the City Award

Dr Noel Karalus graduated from the University of Auckland’s medical school, after beginning his studies in 1970 – only the third year that medicine was offered as a course there. Since then, he’s done big things and made huge contributions to the medical profession – especially in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa.

Specialising in respiratory conditions, Dr Karalus played a big role in establishing the Waikato Medical Research Foundation and its philanthropic arm. Previously its Chair, Dr Karalus assisted in setting long-term supports in place for the charitable trust to promote, encourage and fund medical research in the Waikato region. The Foundation does truly remarkable things – putting our local researchers at the forefront of life-saving discoveries.

As a driving force in clinical research himself, Dr Karalus’s passion for improving medical care for the community is evident through the number of people he’s influenced, the research papers he’s written and his personal work through the Foundation. Dr Karalus has changed the way clinical care is delivered and inspired many junior medical staff to become physicians.

Dr Karalus played an instrumental role writing the New Zealand Tuberculosis Guidelines as part of working group for the Ministry of Health. His special research interests include mycobacterial infection, and to this day, he is still involved in high-quality research with the Tuberculosis  laboratory at the University of Waikato.

Raising money for those in need is something Dr Karalus and his family are well-known for. Their involvement in philanthropic work includes the raising of money for those in need of medical assistance. These activities have helped people with conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, provided financial assistance for parents to accompany their children to New Zealand from Samoa to have surgery, and gifted educational scholarships so people from Samoa can attend secondary school and gain access to tertiary education.

A true sign of Dr Karalus’s leadership is the awarding of a matai (chief) title – ‘Pauli’ – which was given to him by a village in Samoa.

Dr Karalus has been recognised by many in the community as an extremely humble person, an innovative leader and a visionary. His extensive experience as a respiratory specialist and general practitioner has made a huge contribution to medical research in our region.

We are proud to recognise him as a deserving recipient of a Freedom of the City Award, alongside his wife Peta, who is also receiving an award at today’s ceremony.

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