Thursday 12 May 2022 8:25am
Ajay Kumar, on the right, with his partner Georgina Lomax-Sawyers.
Ajay Kumar graduates with a Bachelor of Pharmacy on Saturday 7 May. This brilliant young pharmacist has a strong sense of community and the importance of holistic healthcare.
“I am really interested in public health and community level work. That is my big pull. For me, a big thing with health is that it is not just about medicines, it is more holistic. It is about the individual person, their family, their local environment, and the health of the community as a whole.”
Prior to Pharmacy, Ajay completed a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology.
“Pharmacology is the science side of medicines and pharmacy is the human side. I found medicine and the human body really interesting and saw pharmacy as a great way to help real people on a daily basis.”
Ajay is now in his intern year working as a pharmacist in Cannons Creek Porirua, “a proud vibrant community.” He has also been working for Arthritis New Zealand as a community gout navigator -collaborating with patients and their families within the local community.
This experience has confirmed his plans to continue working as a pharmacist and to also “branch out beyond the traditional path and work collaboratively with the community on local health projects.”
“I enjoy spreading awareness and helping people understand their medicines and their health, particularly people who aren’t used to a Western form of medicine.” Ajay was born in Palmerston North, and his parents are from Fiji. He enjoyed his studies in Dunedin and the community he found here. He says the Va’a o Tautai – Centre for Pacific Health was an incredible part of his Otago experience.
Ajay has plans to work collaboratively with the community on local health projects.
“They do an awesome job of bringing everyone in, building a community and providing holistic support. They were probably the first people who emailed me when I signed up for uni and when I wandered into the centre for the first time, I don’t know how, but they already knew my name. You will find a home here and they will be there for you. Otago uni overall really builds a great sense of community- it is the best place to come and study.”
Ajay tutored for the Va’a o Tautai throughout his time at Otago and participated in the mentoring programme for other students. He first got involved with the Cannon’s Creek community through a Pacific Opportunities Programmes @ Otago (POPO) internship arranged by the Va’a o Tautai, which has led to employment.
Ajay is enjoying visiting his old haunts in Dunedin ahead of the graduation ceremony. His family were set to travel down from Palmerston North to join him but, unfortunately, they have COVID-19.
He will be celebrating with his partner Georgina Lomax-Sawyers. The two met in their first year- living across the hall from each other in the University’s residence Carrington College.
Georgina graduated from Otago last year in Law and with a BA in politics and communication. She worked part-time in Dunedin while Ajay completed his studies. She is now enjoying working at a prestigious law firm in central Wellington. She and Ajay agree they are lucky to have a partner in this big step in their life.