Ben is enrolled at the University of Otago, studying Health Science First Year and hopes to be accepted to further study Medicine in 2017.
Ben has always had a natural tendency to care for people and it seemed right to him to lean towards study in a health-related field. He feels through personal experience he has seen both the positives and negatives of our health system.
He sees the combination of a medical and Māori degree as being extremely beneficial, working on devising strategies around Māori health issues. Ben is interested in exploring significant health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This ties in with his interest in sports. He has a plan to complete post graduate study in Sports Medicine.
One of Ben’s strengths is leadership. He has captained both the 1st XI cricket and football teams at Kapiti College and was also a member of the Head Student Team where he acted as a Māori leader within the school. Ben gained Excellence endorsements in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, as well as being the top academic male for his year groups. He presented himself as a Māori leader within the college and was proud to show the younger Māori students that it is possible to achieve success in school.
"Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. Engari, ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao"
The one who partakes of the flora and fauna, that will be their domain. The one who engages in education, opportunities are boundless.
Ben credits his successes to date to his whānau both present and past, for always encouraging his education. As he begins his studies towards a medical degree he understands the value of education and wants to promote and encourage tertiary education to NRAIT members.
The absence of Te Reo Māori in Ben’s whānau has focused on him on learning the language and he is committed to its revitalization within his whānau. Ben has completed NCEA Level 3 Te Reo Māori and intends to keep learning the language at university in the coming years.
Ben envisages serving the Māori community as a medical doctor, fluent in Te Reo with a passion for sport and health. He wants to be a part of the call for a rise in Māori doctors in Aotearoa and to be able to help improve the overall health and wellbeing of NRAIT owners.
Update from Ben – October 2017
Ben wishes to thank NRAIT for awarding him a 2017 Tertiary scholarship.
Ben is currently a second-year medical student.
He feels extremely lucky and privileged to have had so many amazing opportunities this year already, including completing a clinical placement in a rest home, interacting with patients with diseases and disabilities, as well as having the opportunity to dissect human cadavers, an experience he will cherish for the rest of his life – “being able to put theory into practice is invaluable.” He has been exposed to so many options the medical world has to offer, and is trying to keep as open minded as possible, but still sees himself strongly driven towards becoming a Māori GP with a keen focus on Māori health.
Sport is a passion of Ben’s. He plays soccer in Dunedin for Northern United and also cricket for Paraparaumu Cricket Club when he is home.
Ben is currently very busy studying for exams in the coming weeks and we wish him all the best.
Update from Ben – June 2018
Ben is in his third year of study and enjoying all of the topics he is learning, including dissecting a human brain!
He is also finding time for extra curricular activities like football and social netball.
Ben currently faces the tough decision as to what medical school he spends his 4th-6th years in.
Best wishes for the year Ben.
Update from Ben – August 2018
I am currently a third year Medical student at the University of Otago, and am another year closer to completing my degree and joining the health workforce. My third year of study has given me many amazing opportunities, with a large emphasis being placed on community contact. I have had the privilege of interviewing a number of patients suffering from a range of conditions, as well as completing a week-long placement on the Kapiti Coast analysing the health needs of the community.
I had chosen to complete my Community Contact Week (CCW) placement on the Kapiti Coast, because I was interested in learning about the health needs of the community that I grew up in. I learnt of the various issues affecting the health of the tamariki, whanau and kaumātua in the region, and what barriers were preventing adequate healthcare for these populations. This experience was invaluable and helped me realise that there are so many more factors contributing to a patient's overall wellbeing than the physical symptoms they might present to a doctor. I believe that my learnings from my studies, and this placement, will help me as I progress throughout my medical career and place me in a position where I can have a positive impact on the future of Maori Health.
What separates me from my peers is that I have a strong sense of connectedness to my whakapapa and iwi. I am driven towards supporting those who have enabled me to get to where I am and feel that this will come through understanding what the barriers to adequate healthcare among our iwi members are. I am interested to spend time learning of these issues and working alongside NRAIT in the future to improve the overall wellbeing of our proud iwi.
I am extremely blessed to be in my position, undertaking a study that allows me to help change people's lives directly. I am committed to making those who have supported me proud, and that starts by completing this degree.
Kāore e kore, He tika te kōrero "Ehara taku toa, he takitahi, he toa takitini"