Scholarship recipient Anika (second from left) with members of her whānau.
Anika Moana Kite Perenara is the recipient of a scholarship for Māori students in their second year of the Bachelor of Pharmacy programme.
Anika says she has always aspired to a career in healthcare and has a strong focus on improving health outcomes for Māori. She intends on continuing postgraduate study in pharmacy before pursuing a career as a prescribing pharmacist.
She hopes to be part of solving the lack of representation she sees in the pharmacy profession, particularly pertaining to Māori.
“This lack of representation has created a disconnect between cultures within this profession and the lack of a sufficient understanding is problematic, especially when translated into direct patient-pharmacist interactions,” Anika says.
She hopes she can give back to the Māori community by establishing herself as a positive figure, providing more personable and relatable services for Māori.
“I believe it is imperative that a patient’s cultural background and beliefs are not only acknowledged but readily incorporated into the treatment and the services provided to them.”
She also hopes to contribute to broader change regarding Māori relationships with the pharmaceutical environment and ultimately help diminish the inequalities that exist in our healthcare system.
Anika was born in Oamaru before they moved to Dunedin where she grew up, her family also has ties to Matata. Prior to studying at Otago she attended Otago Girls. Anika is also very involved in music, she is an accomplished classical pianist and singer and has played the guitar from a young age.
“I am grateful to say that I have many inspirational figures in my life who encourage me to strive and offer endless support in whichever journey I choose to take. My parents have always provided a safe and supportive environment for me to make my own decisions and they invest so much of their own time into helping me achieve my goals.
“My Pop is someone who I probably look up to the most. He is an extremely knowledgeable and skilful man who would never skip the opportunity to learn something new. His patience and determination towards problem solving is very admirable. He strives to learn new things to help others, which is one of the many traits that I aspire to possess,” says Anika.
Leanne Te Karu, Associate Dean Māori for the School of Pharmacy, says the scholarships are a real factor for recruitment when considering the inequity of Māori health outcome and the role pharmacists can play in contributing to equitable and culturally safe medicines optimisation.
“Pharmacy is severely underrepresented with respect to Māori pharmacists and the dramatically limited numbers cannot be acceptable for the profession nor the University. Further, the scholarship is an opportunity to highlight the tauira as they commence their journeys to becoming pharmacists.
“Anika represents the potential for our future and has already indicated her intent to become an ambassador for Hauora under the umbrella of pharmacy. We are excited at the prospect and offer our congratulations to Anika and our other recipient for this year - Erana Ikimau,” says Associate Dean Te Karu.