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Rawiri Manley

Medical student

Rawiri Manley

Rawiri Manley is working hard towards his goal of qualifying in medicine, and advocating for culturally safe practice in health

– By Rawiri Manley with Amokura Panoho

Ko Te Arawa rāua ko Tainui ngā waka.
Ko Ngōngōtahā, ko Wharepūhunga rātou ko Pukeroa ngā maunga. 
Ko Utuhina, ko Pūniu rātou ko Mangapū ngā awa.
Ko Te Koutu, ko Aotearoa, ko Rawhitiroa rātou ko Kaputuhi ngā marae.
Ko Ngāti Whakaue, ko Raukawa ki Wharepūhunga, rātou ko Ngāti Maniapoto ngā iwi.
Ko Ngāti Taeotu, ko Ngāti Takihiku, ko Ngāti Kaputuhi hoki ngā hapū. 

Te Arawa and Tainui are my waka
Ngōngōtahā, Wharepūhunga and Pukeroa are my mountains
Utuhina, Pūniu and Mangapū are my rivers
My marae are Te Koutu, Aotearoa, Rawhitiroa and Kaputuhi
My iwi are Ngāti Whakaue, Raukawa ki Wharepūhunga, and Ngāti Maniapoto
My hapū are Ngāti Taeotu, Ngāti Takihiku, and Ngāti Kaputuhi

Embarking on a journey in the health sector was a decision deeply rooted in my personal experiences and cultural background. Growing up in a Māori community, I witnessed first-hand the disparities and unique health challenges we face. 

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However, in my first year at university I didn’t make it. I fell short. And then I actually left and worked a whole lot of casual jobs for a few years. But I realised that I still had this dream inside of me and I thought why not give it another go.  So, I did and fortunately I am now in my second year of medicine. 

My father experiencing a heart attack deeply affected me, witnessing his struggle and the impact on our family solidified my desire to pursue medicine, to alleviate such hardships for others, especially within my community. To make those moments for whānau a bit easier.

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My days are filled with rigorous study; they start early and are packed with lectures, practical labs, and endless hours of revision. The pathway is far from glamorous, but the potential to bring change makes every challenge worth it.

However, my journey is about embracing my Māori heritage and ensuring it’s represented and respected within the medical field. The science of medicine may seem distant from our cultural practices, but I see it as an opportunity to integrate and advocate for culturally safe practices. By being present in these spaces, I aim to be part of the future for Māori health professionals and ensure our voice is heard and valued.

I may not consider myself traditionally ‘smart’, but my determination and commitment to my goals and community keep me going. In this challenging but rewarding field, I am driven by the desire to make a difference, honouring my culture while advancing in medicine.

RELATED: Read Careers with STEM magazines

Rawiri’s tips

  • Give whatever you do a 100%
  • Life skills and emotional maturity is important
  • Never give up

Rawiri’s pathway

  • Bachelor of Science, Massey University
  • Policy analyst intern, Ministry for the Environment | Manatū mō te Taiao 
  • Pou Whakarite, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand 
  • Summer research assistant, Pūtahi Manawa
  • Bachelor of Medicine, The University of Auckland

A version of this profile also appears in our upcoming issue of Careers with STEM: Indigenous. Sign up to our newsletter to receive updates on its launch date.

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