Liley Medal for Otago-led research to prevent rheumatic fever
Health Research Council Liley Medal (2023) Team Award: Professor Michael Baker and Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease Colleagues co-authors for Lancet papers.
Hui Whakanui Tauira Award Celebration 2023
The Hui Whakanui Tauira Award Celebration was held on the 17 November 2023 for the University of Otago, 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 Winner 2023
I'm Urijah, from the beautiful Marovo Lagoon in the Western Province of Solomon Islands. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Health Sciences at the University of Otago.
My research focuses on health disparities that disproportionately impact Pacific communities in both Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Pacific region.
I aim to set an example for my daughter and other Pacific youth, demonstrating our capacity to make a meaningful impact in our own Pacific communities through medical research.
Pacific Leadership Award Winner 2023
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.
Pacific Medical Prize
4th Year 2023 Winners:
My name is Seraphine Williams. I live in Newtown, Te Whanganui-a-Tara; born and raised in Hikurangi, Tāmaki Makaurau. I started my medical student journey at Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka the year 2020.
I am honoured to be educated within a school of unparalleled opportunity.
Adrienne Ellavia Hekau
I was born and raised in South Auckland, my family and I are originally from the beautiful island of Niue - the Rock of Polynesia. My journey at the University of Otago has been rewarding in many ways.
I am grateful to be studying medicine and truly enjoy all parts of my learning. My hope is to one day join the health workforce and help serve our Pacific peoples and Aotearoa as a whole, fakaue lahi.
5th Year 2023 Winners:
By way of background, I was born and raised in Samoa before my family moved to New Zealand in hopes of better education. In 2019, I started my university career in Dunedin. After 3 years in Dunedin, I completed ALM4 in Wellington, and then went on to do ALM5 on the West Coast as part of the Rural Immersion Medical Programme (RMIP).
In 2024 I will be completing a Bachelor of Medical Science with Honours (BMedSc(Hons)) with the hopes of doing a PhD prior to my final year of medical school. My research will primarily focus on the Pacific health workforce - it is my hope that this project will contribute towards improving Pacific health.
I was born and raised in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and moved to Dunedin in 2019 to pursuit a career in Medicine. I have many reasons for choosing this path but mainly to give back to my family, communities, and country in a meaningful way.
6th Year 2023 Winner:
Talofa Lava, I am Urata Sofai and hail from the villages of Letogo and Lepea in Samoa. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on our wonderful Wellington campus and thank the Pacific team in particular for their support. I hope to now join the past Otago Pasifika and Māori medical students’ in working towards a more equitable health system for our communities. Fa’afetai Tele Lava!
Urata is also a winner of the Dukes Prize for Excellence in 6th year Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and the Wellington Faculty (RNZCGP) Prize for Excellence in General Practice.
Pacific Allied Health Prize 2023 Winner:
Kantesia Tari Rimon
Iti Rearea Award:
Winners included Helaman Luki
Pacific Research Prize Winner:
Mālō e lelei, ko hoku hingoa to Tātila Helu. I was born in the Kingdom of Tonga, moved to South Auckland with my family, and now reside in Kelson, Lower Hutt.
Currently pursuing the BMedSci(Hons) program 2023 following 5th year of medical school based at the University of Otago, Wellington Campus. My thesis was focused on "Patients’ Experiences and Upper Limb Dysfunction Following Breast Cancer Treatments in Wellington, New Zealand."
Motivated by the impact of research on healthcare, my goal is to contribute as a clinical scientist, particularly in enhancing health outcomes for minority populations like Pasifika and Māori families.
PMA Award winners, Aliesha Taramai and Tiamai Koteka
The Papa'ali'i Dr Semisi Ma'ia'i Scholarship recipients for 2023 included 2 Pacific Medical students from UOW. Aliesha Taramai and Tiamai Koteka are both 5th-year medical students currently based at UOW and were formally presented with their scholarships at the PMA Awards Celebration held in 2023.