Dr Marise Kerehi Stuart and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
gianina.schwanecke@age.co.nz

A former Wairarapa College head prefect is heading to Harvard Medical School in Boston after being awarded a prestigious Fulbright award.

Dr Marise Kerehi Stuart, of Ngati Kahungunu and Ngapuhi descent, was awarded her Fulbright scholarship at Parliament by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters early last week.

The scholarship will contribute to her tuition fees for the two-year Masters of Medical Science in Global Health Delivery programme at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Stuart said she was “so excited” to be awarded the scholarship as it will cover a large part of the $110,000-a-year tuition cost.

“It was really the ticket to cover the costs. It will make a huge difference,” she said.

Stuart graduated from Waicol as the head prefect in 2002, before going on to complete a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Physical Education and Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Otago in 2014.

Growing up in Mauriceville, Stuart never expected she’d become a doctor, let alone one set to study at the prestigious Ivy League college.

“It’s helped me realise my goals. I want to have a big impact on the health of our people.”

She said she was very passionate about healing mental health trauma.

“I want to demonstrate how we can use kaupapa Maori practices, such as wairuatanga, karakia, rongoa, for whanau ora, and ensure that this is available to whanau when they need it,” she said.

Stuart said that “hauora [well-being] was not confined to the health clinic” and hoped to support the development of kaupapa Maori practices across the community.

The Harvard course will allow Stuart to design and implement a new health programme in Te Tai Tokerau [Northland], where her grandmother was raised.

She is still looking for a final $25,000 to cover her tuition costs and asked that any business able to support her get in touch on [0274] 134-603.