For Erana, the decision to become a health professional has a very personal origin.
“Growing up, my mum was very sick and went to see almost every health professional you could think of. She had a lot of unacceptable experiences that were heart-breaking for me to hear about," she says in a media release from Otago university.
“I understand how poor Māori health is here in New Zealand and personally I believe it is because health professionals don’t understand aspects of Māori health and Māori do not feel comfortable seeking help from professionals. By becoming a pharmacist, I have high hopes that I will be able to change this. I am driven and believe that having more Māori in the healthcare sector is a major start to improving Māori health in New Zealand.”
One of the main reasons Erana chose to become a pharmacist was the under-representation of Māori in the profession, with about 2 per cent of practising pharmacists identifying as Māori according to the 2020 Pharmacy Council workforce report.
Once qualified, she also plans to engage with school students in lower socio-economic areas to share her experiences and inspire Māori and Pacific children into higher education.