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Bright futures for health-focused teens

Tamatea Paku-Tangiora is headed for Otago University to begin first year health science. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

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Two Wairarapa students have been given a helping hand into health careers, thanks to the Win Hastings Bright Futures Scholarship.

The scholarship of $3000 each was awarded to high school leavers Tamatea Paku-Tangiora and Zoe Edwards.

A Wairarapa College graduate, Paku-Tangiora will be studying first year health science at Otago University with a goal to enter the health profession – likely as a doctor.

“I did this thing Kia Ora Hauora, and they support Maori into health careers and through them I realised this goal.

“I had a six-week work experience course where I was stationed at Wairarapa District Health Board and I got to visit different parts of the hospital and ask questions of the people who worked in there and learnt something about their careers.”

Paku-Tangiora found the experience “really enjoyable and insightful”.

“It inspires me a little to follow this pathway.

“It kind of finalised my decision on it because going into it I was still unsure.

“I guess I’m really passionate about being able to give back and help all people.”

The variety, and honour of a health career also appealed to Paku-Tangiora.

His scholarship money would go towards summer school which he would be attending next month.

“It lifts the burden about having to worry about money off my shoulders and it allows me to focus on my studies a bit more.”

The staff he met at Wairarapa Hospital inspired him to give back – and Paku-Tangiora planned to return to Wairarapa when he finished his studies.

“The whole goal of people going through this work experience at Kia Ora Hauora, is that they’ll return to their communities. I can definitely see myself coming back.

“I’m grateful for the people who have helped me get to where I am now.”

Zoe Edwards was a prefect at Kuranui College and will study nursing at Massey University.

Zoe Edwards was a prefect at Kuranui College this year, and in 2018 was appointed St John district cadet of the year.

She planned to study nursing and said her time with St John had helped push her towards the career path.

“Most people who are involved in St John do something in the medical industry.”

Edwards’ plans for her scholarship money was to use it for accommodation fees.

“It’ll allow me to not stress about where the money’s going to come from.”

Nikau Foundation executive director Alice Montague said the scholarship, which is in its second year, was donated by an anonymous couple who understood the benefits that having access to good education could bring.

When reading through the applications, Montague said the pair had stood out.

“The key criteria for them is that these kids demonstrate a real commitment to give back to the community.

“These kids are bright and capable, but it’s really about the fact they want to give back to the community.”

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