Completing the Pūhoro STEMM Summership Programme has reinforced in Shane Ormond’s mind the need for a by Māori for Māori kaupapa to represent the voice of communities.

Shane (Ngāti Kahungunu/Rongomaiwahine) is a third-year medical student at Auckland University studying for a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.

The Summership Programme received Te Aka Whai Ora funding to support 16 tauira doing research in STEMM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics and mātauranga Māori during summer.

“It's an awesome kaupapa because it provides an opportunity for tauira to engage in STEMM research and gain work experience at the same time. I appreciated the chance to immerse myself in the research, from a mātauranga Māori perspective,” says Shane.

“I have been interested in medicine since I was year 8, but it wasn’t until year 12 when I participated in a wānanga through a group promoting health as a career and how to get into medicine and health sciences, that I set my mind to it. Seeing other tauira interested in the sciences was inspiring.”

Putahi Manawa in the Hawke’s Bay hosted Shane as he conducted his research on gestational diabetes in indigenous populations and how they affected Māori and other first nations groups in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

The cohort of students who participated in the summer internship partnering with universities and health organisations across the motu, were able to showcase their research work at a celebration in Palmerston North at the end of the 12-week programme.

“It was great to see the research and projects as part of the internship. I learned new skills like accessing literature, identifying key points of information, and learning to present research. It was different from studies, as there was no course guide, so you had to be proactive and be critical about your approach to get the information you need,” explains Shane.

He says the internship with Pūhoro has solidified his career pathway.

“I grew up on a farm in Mahia in the Hawke’s Bay and I know there’s a need for more doctors and health professionals in our rural communities. It’s my dream to be a rural GP, to go back to where I come from and help my people who don't have ready access to primary healthcare. This internship has inspired me even more to work hard so I can one day work and be part of that representation for my community.”

 Pūhoro STEMM Academy Manahautū, Chief Executive, Kemp Reweti is grateful for the investment into the programme.

“The support has been fundamental in providing 18 rangatahi meaningful work and research experience in health, in addition to learning, growing and connecting to these pathways. The Pūhoro summership programme is pivotal to realising our objectives to develop the next generation of Māori health marere leaders and practitioners,” he says.

 Head of Hauora Māori Service Development, Jade Sewell, says a STEMM workforce is the way of the future.

"The work Pūhoro has and continues to do is grounded in mātauranga Māori where prominence is given to enabling students to connect and express their culture," explains Jade. 

"We are working to create opportunities to grow our kaimahi workforce and ensure there are by Māori, for Māori solutions and clear pathways into health, both now and into the future. We want to lead the innovation to deliver for whānau."