Pukawakawa Fifth-year Medical Students Welcomed at Terenga Paroa Marae | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Pukawakawa Fifth-year Medical Students Welcomed at Terenga Paroa Marae

Today, we welcomed another group of fifth-year medical students to the Pukawakawa training programme with a pōwhiri at Terenga Paroa Marae in Whangārei.  

In the 16th year, Pukawakawa, the regional-rural programme at the University of Auckland, is a training initiative to encourage more graduating doctors to Northland, giving them valuable experience in regional and rural healthcare. 

“It is our whānau birth-right to kia pai te hauora (to be in good health) and this is something we must nurture,” offered Peter Thomas, Pou Taki ā-Rohe (Director), Te Aka Whai Ora. 

“I encourage all students to learn from the communities and colleagues around them, find out what matters to people as individuals, whānau, iwi and hapū.” 

During their fifth year, each student spends time in Whangārei Hospital and one of the rural hospitals in Kaitaia, Bay of Islands, Dargaville or Rawene. The students also experience working with GPs in outpatient settings and a range of community health expert practitioners. 

In addition to helping them understand the unique skills and challenges in practising rural medicine, the placements help students develop their links with the Northland region. 

“Our vision is that medical students who participate in the Pukawakawa programme forge relationships and a heartfelt desire to return and practice medicine in the north,” Dr Jenny Walker, Chief Medical Officer said. 

“There are opportunities throughout the health sector in Te Tai Tokerau, particularly in the fields of rural medicine and primary care.”   

The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and the Northland District Health Board established the ground-breaking partnership in 2007. Pukawakawa placements are highly sought after, with 24 students selected based on their interest in regional or rural medicine.


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