Eru Pōmare Medal
About Professor Eru Pōmare
Professor Eru Pōmare was of Ngāti Mutunga, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa, Rongomai-wahine, Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongo Whakaata descent. He was a Ngārimu VC Scholar at Otago, graduating in 1966. He worked in Bristol as a Commonwealth Scholar, completing his MD thesis on the gallbladder and bile salt metabolism. He began work at the Wellington School of Medicine in 1975, becoming Professor of Medicine in 1986. In 1993 Eru became Dean, whilst continuing clinical work, research and leadership in Māori Health.
Dr Pōmare's research work was on improving understanding of how the gut works and in particular colon physiology. Nutrition was another key interest for Eru, and he worked with both Māori and Pacific Island communities to understand traditional diets and effects on digestive health. Māori health continued to be a focus, as he volunteered his time in remote areas to assess patients with Hepatitis B, promote vaccination, encourage better dietary choices and reduce rates of smoking.
What was possibly most important for Dr Pōmare was clinical medicine, helping the patient and supporting people in general to encourage them to achieve goals. Patients would travel from all over New Zealand to see him, and even now, years after his death, past patients and colleagues talk of how great he was.
About the Medal
The Eru Pōmare Medal aligns with the RACP College motto 'hominum servire saluti' — 'to serve the health of our people' — and recognises a member of the Society who has contributed towards the improvement of the health of the community and/or our members.
Nominees must be members of the Society for this medal who have demonstrated excellence in an area or areas of Eru’s work – teaching, research, nutrition, clinical gastroenterology, public health, Māori health and leadership.
Further information on Dr Pōmare and the Medal can be found here.