John McLeod-Te Apa Mareikura Scholars Presentation

Press Release – New Zealand Government

I am so proud to be here; to be able to bask in the collective satisfaction that comes with the ethos of success that we are celebrating tonight. There is nothing quite as uplifting as the sensation of achievement. Tonight we are gathered to pay …John McLeod-Te Apa Mareikura Scholars Presentation

Hon Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Health
Wednesday 5 October 2011; 6.30pm

I am so proud to be here; to be able to bask in the collective satisfaction that comes with the ethos of success that we are celebrating tonight.

There is nothing quite as uplifting as the sensation of achievement.

Tonight we are gathered to pay tribute to outstanding accomplishments of our students who are receiving honours in the John McLeod Awards and the Te Apa Mareikura category.

But before I talk about these students, I want to acknowledge the High Five who provided the inspiration and the foundation for this award ceremony tonight.

As anyone with mokopuna will know, the High Five is a hand gesture when two people raise their hands in celebration; slapping palms together as a sign of a triumphant moment in time.

It is indeed, a fitting image to consider the five people in whose names these awards have been created.

And I want to mihi to the whanau of the late Dr John McLeod; Anne Delamere; Bill Katene; Dennis Simpson and Rongo Wirepa.

I remember them all fondly and with great respect for the difference they have made in improving our health; in increasing our knowledge and awareness of hauora; and in the distinctive contribution they made to the pursuit of Whanau Ora.

Our lives today, are all the richer for their legacy.

It is wonderful that the lesson of their lives continues to influence us through the emergence of the new leadership.

The first two award winners we announce tonight have received the John McLeod Scholarship.

As Wi Keelan has already indicated; Dr McLeod acquired an international reputation for his ground-breaking work in public health; and particularly the advances he made in improving Maori health status.

To receive this award a candidate must be recognized for their strong commitment to Maori health gain; they must display leadership qualities; and demonstrate excellence in academic scholarship.

The two candidates we honour tonight are exceptional examples of emerging Maori leaders who are utilizing their considerable talents to improve the health status of Maori.

The first recipient of the John McLeod Award is Ibrahim Walter Solomon of Ngai Te Rangi and Ngai Tuhoe.

Ibrahim was the highest scoring candidate in the medicine category. He is in his third year of a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree at the University of Auckland.

Ibrahim has already been identified as displaying leadership qualities; having been awarded Head Prefect at Rotorua Boys High School; winning the Rotorua Young Achievers Award; and earning top academic awards in the Certificate of Health Sciences Programme.

This is a young man fast going place. He is inspired by the urgency of needing to advance Maori health status; and seeks to take up this goal in a future career as a general practitioner.

He has a particular passion for improving access and communication in primary health services for all patients, particularly Maori. I warmly congratulate him on this success.

The second recipient of the John McLeod Award is Caroline Blucher of Te Aupouri and Ngati Kuri.

Caroline was the highest scoring candidate in the pharmacy category.

Since her graduation from Kerikeri High School this young woman has been a trailblazer in her field of scholarship.

She completes her Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Auckland this year; having been awarded Hauora Maori scholarships in every year of her study

In 2008 Caroline was named the Top Scholar at Auckland University in the Chancellor Awards for Top Maori and Pasifika scholars; and she has subsequently earned the Hiwinui Heke scholarship for pharmacy from this same institution.

I am really excited by her determination to return home to Te Tai Tokerau; to walk her talk; and to make the difference she seeks in addressing Maori health inequalities across her community.

I congratulate you, Caroline, on your commitment and your passion to influence the future for all our mokopuna.

I now move to the second category of awards; the Te Apa Mareikura Scholarship which pay testimony to the commitment made by the kuia and kaumatua who inspired this award.

The Te Apa Mareikura Scholarship recognizes involvement in community health; proven leadership ability and effective community networks alongside of academic excellence.

The first recipient of the Te Apa Mareikura Scholarship is Michelle Turrall of Ngai Tahu.

Michelle is the highest scoring candidate right across all the Hauora Maori scholarships. Michelle has extensive work experience in the health sector with an even more comprehensive commitment to her community in a voluntary capacity.

And I want to commend her, particularly for her work in some of the most sensitive and traumatic areas of health care – in regards to her work with SAFECARE; forensic support and as part of a rape and sexual assault team linked with the New Zealand Police and Doctors for sexual abuse care.

Michelle has also been working in a voluntary capacity with primary schools, supporting them in better understanding cultural issues; and in implementing Ngai Tahu education initiatives.

Michelle is a primary care nurse in Otautahi, working as a Whanau Link Coordinator – a role she has proudly upheld since 2006. On top of all of this, she will complete a post-graduate diploma in mental health next year.

Our final recipient tonight is Paula Boyle of Ngati Porou. Paula has directly drawn on her own life experiences to inspire her decision to contribute in both voluntary and formalized roles working across the community.

She has dedicated enormous investment into the field of family violence prevention, through her commitment to Women’s Refuge, Rape Crisis, in her determination to graduate with a Master of Social Sciences and a Master of Social Work; which she will complete next year.

She has been a loyal worker supporting her marae and kohanga reo.

In addition to her academic success at Massey University, Paula has also worked as a carpenter in an all-male gang; qualifying with a Trades Certificate and no doubt some unique life experiences along the way.

I am really proud of the accomplishments demonstrated by Ibrahim; Caroline; Michelle and Paula – and believe that while they come from different backgrounds and experiences; what they have in common is an incredible aptitude for leadership.

They impress us all with their understanding that in order to achieve the highest aspirations they have set for themselves; they needed to be multi-talented and multi-skilled.

They are all educators, mentors and coaches for upcoming generations. They are strongly connected in te Ao Maori, and to their whanau, hapu and iwi.

And they are held in the greatest esteem by their peers and the people they work with.

In short their contribution is already huge; and their leadership is destined to be far-reaching.

I am delighted to congratulate these wonderful award-winners; and to wish you all even further success in your journey forward.

ENDS

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