Scholarship shot in arm for med student Moerangi

Moerangi Tamati has been awarded a Ngarimu scholarship to help with her medical studies.
Moerangi Tamati has been awarded a Ngarimu scholarship to help with her medical studies.

Taranaki nurse turned medical student Moerangi Tamati has been awarded a prestigious scholarship.

Last week Tamati, 24, who is in the fourth year of a six-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Auckland University, was awarded a Ngarimu Scholarship of $10,000 a year until she graduates.

The scholarship comes from the Ngarimu VC and 28th Maori Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund, which was set up in memory of Lieutenant Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu who was awarded the Victoria Cross in WWII.

Tamati said she was very grateful for the support.

"It was quite overwhelming, but pretty amazing. And I didn't know that my great uncle (retired New Plymouth GP Tony Ruakere) was the first, or one of the first, to receive it when he was a med student. It was quite cool to be connected to it in that way."

Tamati, daughter of New Plymouth District councillor Howie Tamati and District Health Board member Aroaro Tamati, spent 2011 working as a graduate nurse in the post-natal ward at Taranaki Base Hospital.

"I'm proud to have a nursing background and I still tell people I am a nurse, before I'm a med student. It's definitely part of who I am."

But she thought she could reach more people as a doctor and there is a need for Maori doctors in Taranaki, she said.

"I'd like to promote it as a place for Maori doctors to come to and deal with Maori health issues there."

She is interested in becoming a GP and tackling public health issues or working in women's health when she graduates.

"The short answer is I'm not completely sure, but those are my interests."

Whatever field she chooses she wants to work in Maori health in Taranaki.

"My heart lies there. I don't see myself ending up anywhere else. What's on my mind all the time, in my goals for the future and where I want to work, is in improving Maori health, maybe in preventative medicine along the GP lines."

At the moment Tamati is doing her placement at Rotorua Hospital, where she works eight hours a day, but doesn't get paid, she said.

Next year she hopes to be part of the Pukawakawa programme in Northland, which has a rural GP focus.

Taranaki Daily News