Ko Te Ati Awa toku iwi.
Ko Bree-Anna toku ingoa.
I’m currently a second year medical student at The University of Otago. I grew up in Opunake and boarded at St Mary’s Diocesan School Stratford for my high school education. My favourite subjects at school were the sciences and physical education. I never really knew what I wanted to do for a career, but I knew that something in the health sector would be able to combine my enjoyment of anatomy and the sciences. As a part of my learning throughout school, I was invited to attended health clinic sessions run by the team at WhyOra. This was an amazing opportunity to get a better idea of all the jobs available in the health industry and what they involve. It was also a good chance for whakawhanaungatanga with students from other local high schools who had similar passions.
The more sessions I attended, the more my knowledge base for the broad industry grew. We had guest speakers, got play games with surgical equipment, got to follow people around the hospital, learn about scholarships and ate some awesome kai. One of the most valuable things that WhyOra introduced me to, was the opportunity to go on COACH. It’s a weekend away at the Auckland University marae with other high school students. That was when my passion for health flourished and I found myself wanting to give back to my tangata whenua, tipuna and whakapapa. Without WhyOra I would have not known the support and opportunities that are available for young Maori students.
When I arrived in Dunedin for First Year Health Science in 2015, I was pretty intimidated. But the encouragement and support was coherent between WhyOra at high school and the Maori Health Workforce Development Unit (MHWDU) at Otago University. I was supplied with extra tutorials and connections, which helped me make it through to a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB). I am extremely grateful and appreciative of the opportunities that I have been given by WhyOra and the MHWDU over the past couple of years. I would definitely recommend the WhyOra programme to any Maori high school student, as it helps you to grasp what you enjoy and find out what you don’t, also the continued support is invaluable.