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The Value of Whakawhanaungatanga

One of the aims from RANZCO’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi Action Plan and Pasifika Eye Health Action Plan is to improve Māori and Pasifika representation within the ophthalmology workforce. On Saturday 25 November, the RANZCO Māori and Pasifika Eye Health Committee (MPEHC) ran a mentoring day in Auckland for medical students and junior doctors considering a career in ophthalmology, as part of this effort. Funded by ANZEF, this initiative is one of six from the 2023 Grant Round

Back row L to R: Luke Hawley, Alistair Papali’i-Curtin, Nick Mantell, Alexandra Lawrence, Micah Rapata, Tiwini Hemi and Pryce Payne.
Front row L to R: Will Cunningham, Justin Mora and Isaac Samuels.

MPEHC Chair Dr Justin Mora reflects on the day below:

“We had four senior Māori and Pasifika doctors attend in person along with a fifth who ‘Zoomed’ in from Wellington. Our Māori trainee, who discussed her experience applying to get onto the training scheme, ended up having also having to speak to us over Zoom due to weather issues and a flight cancellation.

There were six Māori final year med students and junior doctors (no Pasifika this year) who were able to join us from around the country. We all agreed that it was wonderful to have everyone together in the same space for the first time and in fact the whakawhanaungatanga, the building of relationships within the group, may have been the most valuable part of the whole experience.

The program was very informal as we discussed the selection criteria for ophthalmology and ways to maximise the chance of being successful. Some tips for interviews were shared and we talked about how best to answer various interview scenarios. Over the course of the day, it became clear how very important mentorship is in encouraging young Māori and Pasifika into our field.

The feedback from the day was universally positive and everyone agreed that it would be ideal to do this again each year, both as a nurturing process for Māori and Pasifika who may be interested in pursuing a career in ophthalmology but also to tautoko (support) those in training.

The MPEHC would like to thank ANZEF for their sponsorship of this very successful event.”


Ngā mihi

Dr Justin Mora MBChB, FRANZCO

Ngai tahu

Chair, RANZCO Māori and Pasifika Health Committee