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Health careers at University of Otago, Wellington

This page provides information on health professional courses provided at the University of Otago Wellington. For some courses, students will study in Dunedin for the first years of their course and come to Wellington for their final or postgraduate years. The Kia Ora Hauora website is also an excellent resource for anyone considering health careers.

The principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi underpin the Government’s health policy and strategic direction.

The principle of ‘Participation” requires the health sector to involve Māori at all levels, in decision-making, planning, development and delivery of health and disability services.

Māori health and disability workforce development is one of the strategies for contributing to Māori health gain.

Find out more about health careers at the University of Otago:


Ngā Tohunga Mātai Kai (dietitians) use current scientific evidence to plan and implement practical and effective ways of managing food and nutrition – both for individuals and for groups of people.

You can become a dietitian by completing a three year degree in Human Nutrition and then a postgraduate diploma in dietetics.

Some dietetic students come to Wellington to do their postgraduate diploma.

Māori Health Research

Research underpins evidence-based health policy and practice. You can contribute to Māori health development as a researcher by building an evidence base derived from research that upholds rangatiratanga and utilises and advances Māori knowledge, resources, and people.

Māori health research development opportunities at UOW include summer studentships, Masters and PhD theses, and postgraduate certificates and diplomas including research courses. There is also a range of research groups at UOW who are working on research that aims to improve Māori health.

Te Kaunihera Rangahau Hauora o Aotearoa (Health Research Council of New Zealand) provides a range of funding opportunities and career development awards for Māori health researchers.

MASS – the Māori Association of Social Scientists is a network of Māori and international indigenous researchers


Doctors help to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure illness, injury and diseases. Medical students at the University of Otago study in Dunedin for the first three years. Some students then come to Wellington for Years 4 to 6. Find out more about Health Sciences First Year study.

To help you get into medical school, it’s recommended you take Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Calculus or Statistics, and English at Year 13 level. If you have not had the opportunity to study these subjects at school, the Tu Kahika [ foundation programme can help you achieve the required level.

See the specialty postgraduate programmes offered at UOW : Aviation Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Sleep Medicine, Primary Health Care, Obstetrics and Medical Gynaecology., Travel Medicine, Medical Technology. Child Heatlh, Public Health, General Practice.

Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (Te ORA), the Māori Medical Practitioners Association, represents Māori medical students, doctors and medical practitioners working as clinicians, specialists, researchers and teachers. It aims to advance Māori health by increasing the Māori medical workforce and providing a supportive network.


Physiotherapists use their in-depth knowledge of how the body works, combined with hands-on clinical skills, to assess, diagnose and treat people’s symptoms of illness, injury or disability.

You can become a physiotherapist by undertaking a 4-year undergraduate degree. In the first year you study in the First Year Health Sciences Programme in Dunedin. Years 2 and 3 are based at the School of Physiotherapy in Dunedin (Te Kura Kōmiri Pai). The fourth year is mostly clinical practice and some students come to the University of Otago Wellington to complete their 4th year.

Tae Ora Tinana is the Māori partner of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists (Kōmiri Aotearoa) and represents Māori physiotherapists, Māori physiotherapy students, and Māori physiotherapy assistants.

Public Health

Public health creates or advocates for healthy social, physical, and cultural environments. People working in public health aim to promote and protect living conditions that prevent disease and support health and wellbeing.

Public health practice in Aotearoa/New Zealand recognises the interconnectedness of whanau, hapu and iwi development and public health. Māori development in education, employment, housing, and justice helps to improve the health of the Māori population.

The Public Health Department at UOW offers postgraduate programmes (Diploma in Public Health, Masters Public Health and PhD), including a paper on Māori Health Issues (PubH709 Hauora - Maori Health Issues) and an undergraduate Certificate in Health Promotion.

For more information on public health careers visit the Ministry of Health website
The Public Health Association of NZ (Kahui Hauora Tumatanui) has a Māori caucus and publishes Kawerongo Hiko, a newsletter focused on Māori public health.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapists use radiation to treat disease, mostly cancer.

“I have always enjoyed learning new things and prefer the hands-on approach, which is exactly what the degree in Radiation Therapy offered me.” Michele Gatfield, Graduate in Radiation Therapy

You can become a radiation therapist after completing a three year degree at the University of Otago, Wellington. Find out more: Radiation Therapy at UOW


Rehabilitation aims to help people recover from injury, illness, or disease by restoring a patient’s function and/or by modifying their physical and social environment. Some types of rehabilitation include physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It aims to help people achieve maximum possible physical and mental fitness and independence after illness or injury.

The Rehabilitation Teaching and Research Unit at the University of Otago Wellington offers postgraduate programmes in rehabilitation including certificates, diplomas, Masters and PhDs.

Visit the New Zealand Rehabilitation Association  for more information on rehabilitation in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Travel Medicine

Health professionals working in travel and migrant health need specific skills to practise safe, effective, and culturally sensitive travel and migrant health care. Find out more about the Postgraduate Diploma in Travel Medicine.

Tu Kahika – Foundation programme for Health Sciences

The University of Otago’s Tū Kahika programme  is a two semester (from February to October) Health Sciences programme run within Foundation Year, which will prepare Māori students academically for their first year of tertiary study and a future career in Māori health.

Further information on Study at UOW

See also the Study@ UOW section for more information

Useful contacts for further information about undergraduate and postgraduate courses run at the University of Otago, Wellington

For undergraduate medicine (MBChB) 4-6 years in Wellington contact :

For the Certificate in Health promotion contact :

For undergraduate radiation therapy contact :

For postgraduate qualifications and information contact :