May 15, 2023
Role models inspire Māori graduate
A University of Auckland graduate has highlighted the values of role models in getting Māori and Pasifika students into higher education.
Ema Matahau-Haata Tu’akoi graduated last week with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in psychology, which she says was driven by her desire to understand the mental health issues that impact Māori and Pasifika after a suicide within her whanau.
She was also inspired by a Pasifika doctor she met when she was young.
“She was the first person I met from that health space that was from south Auckland and the first person I met where I was like ‘oh, so we can make it, we can get to these higher places,” she says.
Ema Matahau-Haata Tu’akoi, who has Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Maru ki Hauraki, and Tongan connections, says she is delaying post-graduate study so she can get work experience in Maori and Pasifika health, including as a community health worker for Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau and a research assistant with Whakauae Research Services.