Adele Tohiariki is an aspiring Māori medical practitioner and champion for Māori representation in the health sector.
She is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo, University of Otago and has already gained a Bachelor of Health Science with a major in Māori health.
Combining her skills and knowledge from both degrees, she hopes to one day work as a practitioner “who has both the biomedical understanding but also the deeper knowledge of public health” and provides culturally responsive health practices when working with Māori individuals, whānau, communities, organisations, and populations.
Adele also gets to study alongside her older sister, who is studying fifth-year medicine at the University of Otago.
In 2022, Adele received a Māori Health Leadership Scholarship from Te Rau Ora. This Scholarship aims to support and develop the Māori who are dedicated to making a difference in the health workforce using te ao Māori values.
She also received the Hoe Tahi Addiction Scholarship from Te Rau Ora for those intending to complete a qualification that contributes to minimising addiction-related harm. This scholarship supports the addiction treatment workforce by growing the abilities of those studying and gaining skills to reduce addiction-related harm.
Adele also uses her adult diagnosis of ADHD as a rewarding opportunity to understand better what it is to navigate the health system as a neurodivergent person and what it takes for her to thrive in tertiary studies. She also actively focuses on caring for her mental health through creative outlets such as gardening and weaving the korowai she started for her whānau.
Through her work on the Māori medical student’s executive – Te Oranga Ki Ōtakou, Adele seeks to provide opportunities for tauira Māori to engage with te ao Māori through creative kaupapa like raranga, or whakawhanaungatanga programmes like Whakatipuranga, a tuakana-teina programme between student year groups.