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Cameron Dickey

Cameron’s fascination with the human body started at a young age, prompting his kindy teachers to bring in a model skeleton.

At age three, Cameron Dickey (Ngāti Maniapoto) met Sam the skeleton at kindergarten, sparking an ambition to pursue a career in medicine.

It’s a dream that the First Year Health Sciences (HSFY) tauira from Greymouth High School is taking concrete steps towards making a reality.

“Ever since meeting Sam, my goal has been to become a doctor. I was, and still am, absolutely fascinated with skeletons and the human body.”

Studying at Otago, right next to the hospital where he was born, feels like a “full-circle moment”, Cameron says.

“The practical skills and knowledge I gain here will prepare me to make a real difference in people's lives, which is ultimately what drives me every day.”

His goal of studying at Otago was supported by the Māori Entrance Scholarship, he says.

“Beyond the crucial financial support it provides, this scholarship signifies recognition of my dedication to Māori health and my ambition to pursue a career in medicine.

“Growing up within the Ngāi Tahu takiwa and receiving support from Ngāti Waewae on Te Tai Poutini has deeply influenced my path.

“This scholarship has bolstered my confidence and reaffirmed my commitment to contributing meaningfully to healthcare, especially in under-served communities.”

The driver behind his ambition is a passion for community service and making a positive impact, Cameron says.

“Working as a healthcare assistant at the hospital and being a respite carer in my spare time gave me first-hand experience of the challenges in healthcare.

“It further shaped my ambition to address healthcare disparities, particularly for rural and Māori communities.”

Cameron’s passion for community service started at a young age, with his involvement in St John Youth and the Student Volunteer Army (SVA).

“Joining St John Youth sparked my passion for healthcare and community care, fostering skills in first aid, communication, and leadership.

“I have represented the South Island in the St John Youth competitions for three years and was the national champion in 2021.”

The SVA gave him exposure to a range of community projects, focusing on issues like environmental stewardship and supporting vulnerable groups, he says.

“The experiences with St John Youth and SVA have not only equipped me with practical skills but also solidified my belief in the importance of community involvement and grassroots initiatives.”

Community service is not the only feather in Cameron’s hat though.

Between school, extracurriculars and volunteering, he found the time to start his own business selling apparel online.

“Our idea was to print my Dad’s face on hoodies. The response was surprisingly positive, with friends, teachers, and even family members showing a lot of interest.”

The business, which started as a “funny idea between friends” soon turned into a full-blown side hustle, Cameron says.

“It taught me a lot about time management and running a small business, while also adding a bit of fun and creativity to my daily life.”

Starting at university brought a change in focus and Cameron decided it was time to take a step back from some of his commitments, he says.

“This year I'm putting my education first to build a strong foundation for the future.

“While I miss being super active in my community and working on my side hustle, I know this is the right move for now. It's all about finding the right balance and knowing when to take a step back to move forward.”

Cameron has great hope for the future, envisioning “a healthcare system that is more holistic and inclusive”.

“Inspired by the framework Te Whare Tapa Whā, I aim to contribute to creating a healthcare environment that addresses the spiritual, mental, physical, and familial dimensions of health.”

He wants to be “a part of the transformation” that leads to equal health outcomes for all, regardless of background or circumstance.

“My journey at Otago is not just about acquiring knowledge and skills.

“It's about equipping myself to be a catalyst for positive change in healthcare, ensuring that all communities have access to quality care and support.”

~  Kōrero by Sandra French, Adviser, Internal Communications.

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