December 02, 2021
Ex-ambo drives for health equity
The winner of one of this year’s Hiwa-i-te-Rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarships says he’s studying to become a doctor so he can push for equity in the health system.
The $10,000 scholarships come from New Zealand Health Group, the country’s country’s largest national provider of home and community support services.
Carlton Irving from Te Whakatōhea started studying medicine at Otago University at age 40 after 20 years as a paramedic in south Auckland.
He says it was literally working in the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, seeing every day the poor health outcomes for Māori and Pasifika.
“Those years of frustration and working on Māori health projects around that made me come to the realisation to change the system you really need to be in it and in our country that means and becoming a doctor to take that progressive step to reform heath and really push health equity,” Mr Irving says.
He says for a health system to benefit Māori it needs to be by Māori for Māori, as can be seen from the results of places like Te Kaha where there is a committed Māori general practice closely integrated with the iwi and the community.
Scholarships also went to Tiani Rawiri from Auckland, who wants to work in forensic and Māori mental health, Coral Waipo from Whangārei, who will put the pūtea towards study for a masters in nursing, and Aroha Hiraka from Whakatāne, who is training to be a nurse.