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Witana Petley

Thesis Title

The experiences of Māori Stroke Survivors and their Whanau caregivers during physical rehabilitation.

Area of Study

  • Hauora Māori
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Community Rehabilitation
  • Informal Caregivers of Stroke Survivors


  • Professor Leigh Hale, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago (Primary Supervisor)
  • Professor Joanne Baxter, Division of Health Sciences, Kōhatu Department, University of Otago.

Education Background

Bachelor Of Physiotherapy with Credit, University of Otago, 2016


  • Petley W. Cultural humility in the Southern DHB. Platform Presentation (invited speaker), Physiotherapy New Zealand Tūhono Hybrid Conference, Auckland 2020, 10 November.
  • Higgs C (Petley W). What does work readiness look like for Physiotherapy Students. Panelist Presentation (invited speaker), Dunedin 2018, 11 September.


  • Tae Ora Tinana Prize 2016
  • Southern DHB Excellence Award for Māori Health Innovation 2019

Why did you choose the School of Physiotherapy?

I chose Otago University mainly from their reputation as an academic school and for their acknowledgment of the importance in engaging with cultural groups.

I always had interest in the way they positively engaged with the stroke population in Dunedin and as stroke is my interest field it was only natural a wanted to be part of the picture I saw as an undergraduate.

Best things so far about your study?

Meeting Thelma Fisher! She has definitely helped simplify my literature reviews, searches and organizing my endnote.