Savannah’s Story

Ko Ngāi tahu te Iwi

Kati Huirapa Runaka

Ko Puketeraki

Ko Hikaroroa ōku Maunga

Ko Waikoauti te Awa

Ko Puketeraki te Marae

Ko Takitimu te Waka

Ko Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki

Ko Savanah tōku ingoa

Ko Iain rawa ko Tina ōku matua

Ko Taranaki toku kainga noho



Kia Ora whanau, I’m Savanah Hislop and I am a first-year nursing student at Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki (W.I.T.T), previously from Spotswood College. Throughout school I had set no plan or career path. I went from wanting to be a makeup artist or doing something with animals, I had no desire to study health. That was until I went to the WhyOra programme and there I discovered the possibility of working in health care.

WhyOra helped me to understand what working in health would be like and sparked my interest in science and helping people, as well as my connection to my Māori ancestry and how important that is in my life. I always felt not Māori enough and my mum’s family is Scottish, my dad’s family is Māori which he doesn’t identify strongly as being. WhyOra showed me I should be proud of my past and use it.

Help me for the future and the importance of being a Māori health care professional. Throughout the program I learnt about every possible aspect of health care I could work in and where I could study. I went to the University of Auckland on a scholarship to help make my career decisions. I also shadowed a doctor at the TDHB and learnt about his life, about scholarships and everything in between. As well as always receiving a great spread of kai and making an incredible number of new friends and whānau.

I was supported in all my decisions I had made especially in the controversial choice to finish level 3 and get UE before the end of my year 13 year to begin my nursing degree instead. WhyOra provided me with support, guidance and specialized learning environments where I could get the best opportunity to make a well-informed decision about the degree I chose. Even now whilst I’m studying, I have been supported by the WhyOra team with scholarships, advice and support and I’m very grateful for it. WhyOra have ensured me that if I ever need anything that they are there to help and that they are going to support me throughout my degree, career and life.

I plan to finish my degree and be able to apply my knowledge to help young Māori gain health literacy and develop their understanding of health in a way that works with our individual needs, values and beliefs as Māori.  I want to use my position to increase the percentage of Māori working within health care. I want to help get other young Māori to get thinking about their futures and taking every opportunity to broaden their possibilities for their future career.


Ngā Mihi,

Savanah Hislop

Year 1 nursing student