Where healing is more than medicine
Preserving health and honouring heritage: The bridge between medicine and culture.
For Nikora, there’s more to studying medicine than just symptoms and surgeries. He also uses his degree to feel closer to his roots.
“The reason I want to be a doctor is, I just want to buy us more time. More time for our nans and koros to share their stories with us, to share their knowledge with us. I just want to heal my people.”
Moving up from Rotorua, Nikora’s heritage is a huge source of inspiration for what he’s set out to accomplish at the University of Auckland.
“To be surrounded with like-minded people, Māori who wanted to be doctors, it was amazing. This place signified the start of my new journey and that's why, whenever I feel lost, I try to return here because I can't go back home. You just have to make it your home away from home.”
This opened doors for Nikora to bring back a treasure trove of wisdom for his iwi, and in return, he takes comfort in knowing that they’ll be cared for by one of their own.
The reason I want to be a doctor is, I just want to buy us more time. More time for our nans and koros to share their stories with us, to share their knowledge with us. I just want to heal my people.
He talks about the moment his mindset shifted. “I had a C+, and then in the second semester I got a B. And then in my last year of nursing, I was able to go to a solid A-. That was just from a change of trying to get grades versus actually enjoying my degree."
Nikora gives props to his ancestral connection for keeping him on track, shouting out kapa haka specifically, “It was a way to exercise and to be Māori. But then when I grew up and wanted to find connections back home, I used it as a vessel for connection.”
He continues,'What was beautiful about that was not only my ability to connect with my people but also to connect with the knowledge back home, the land. Now, when they see me around, they know that they're being represented in med school, my iwi.”
For younger students trying to find their place too, he offered up a pro tip. “Trust yourself, back yourself and full send. Full send.”