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New Chair for Pacific Health Research Committee at HRC

Dianne Sika‑Paotonu image
Associate Professor Dianne Sika-Paotonu.

Associate Professor Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu from UOW has been elected as the new Chair for the Pacific Health Research Committee at HRC, taking over from Associate Professor El-Shadan Tautolo from the Auckland University of Technology.


UOWHui Whakanui Tauira Awards 2022 – Pacific Award and Prize winners

The UOWHui Whakanui Tauira Award Celebration was held on 18 November 2022 at Massey University Campus in Wellington. The UOW Pacific Office awarded a mixture of six awards and prizes to UOW Pacific Students every year.

A selection of Postgraduate Awards, Medical Prizes, Leadership, and Hauora Māori prizes were awarded and included the following Pacific winners.

Pacific Postgraduate Award: Kupa Kupa

Kupa Kupa with Professor Neil Gemmell
Professor Neil Gemmel and Kupa Kupa.

I live in Porirua, Wellington and is originally from the atoll of Fakaofo in Tokelau. My PhD journey began in 2021 motivated by a personal challenge, as well as to encourage other Pacific people to consider ongoing university studies that contribute to Pacific research.

Pacific Leadership Award: Aleisha Taramai

Aliesha Taramai receives a Pacific leadership award
Pacific Leadership Award winner, Aliesha Taramai, Professor Diana Sarfati, and Associate Professor Dr, Dianne Sika-Paotonu.

Kia orāna, my name is Aliesha Maara Taramai, and I was honoured to be the 2022 Wellington PIHPSA representative as a 4th year medical student.

I am of Cook Island New Zealand European descent and grew up on the beautiful Kāpiti Coast. Serving in this role alongside Pasifika Doctors, researchers, students, and other key support-people has blessed my life in more ways than I anticipated.

Through social events such as webinars, conferences, and dinners, as well as some unexpected clinical interactions, I am very thankful for the opportunities I have had to connect with the amazing Pasifika medical community here in Wellington.

Pacific Medical Prize 4th Year: Elisapeta A'aifou-Aloisio

Elisapeta Aaifou-Aloisio receives Pacific Medical Prize
Pacific Medical Prize 4th Year award winner, Elisapeta Aaifou-Aloisio, and Associate Professor Dr, Dianne Sika-Paotonu.

My name is Elisapeta. I appreciate the supportive environment Otago has to offer. The likes of PIRSSU helped immensely in the first year and have provided the necessary tools and skills to keep me going. I am very grateful for the people I have crossed paths with thus far.

Pacific Medical Prize 5th Year: shared

Corey Leaupepe imageCorey Leaupepe, shared winner of the 5th Year Pacific Medical Prize

Yeoman Vaamainuu imageYeoman Vaamainuu, shared winner of the 5th Year Pacific Medical Prize

Pacific Medical Prize 6th Year: Kalilea Vainpuna and Brooke Marsters

Kalilea and Brooke receive 6th year Pacific Prize
6TH Year Pacific Prize award winners, Kalilea Vaipuna on the left and Brooke Marsters second from the right pictured with Director General of Health, Professor Diana Sarfati, and Associate Professor, Dianne Sika-Paotonu.

Iti Rearea Award

Helaman Luki imageWinners included: Helaman Luki

Hauora Māori Prize: Timoti Ti Moke

Tim Te Moke receives award
Tim Te Moke receiving the Hauora Māori Prize.

Te Tohu Wai Certificate of Excellence in Palliative Care:

Winners included: Tara Cleverley

Tara Cleverley with other award winners
Tara Cleverly (far right) alongside the other Te Tohu Wai Certificate of Excellence in Palliative Care winners.

My name is Tara Cleverley. I am of Samoan descent from both my parents. I grew up in Wellington but have roots in my villages of Saoluafata and Fasito'outa in Samoa. It is a privilege to study at the University of Otago and to feel so well supported by my family, the staff, and friends during my long study journey. A career in Medicine will enable me to serve the communities. Fa'afetai le fesoasoani ma le tapua'iga.

UOW Pacific Student Scholarship recipients at 2022 Pasifika Medical Association (PMA)

2022 PMA Awards image
The Papa'ali'i Dr Semisi Ma'ia'i Scholarship recipients for 2022 included 3 Pacific Medical students from UOW. Corey Leaupepe (Far left), Pio Lupo (Far right), Urata Sofai (2nd from left next to Corey), are all 5th Year Medical students currently based at UOW and were formally presented with their Scholarships at the PMA Awards Celebration held in July 2022.

Find out more about this scholarship

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