Local student benefits from Whitireia scholarship

Former Aotea College student Josh Casey is working towards a career in social and community work at Whitireia Community Polytechnic, and has been given a major boost with a secondary school leaver scholarship to help cover his fees.

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School leaver scholarship recipient Josh Casey (far left) and some of his fellow winners (from L-R): Paula Logologo (ex-Aotea College), Dionesia Hoar (ex-Wairarapa College), Mia Alonso-Green and Salanieta Muatabu (both ex-Wellington Girls’ College)

Whitireia offers ten of these scholarships, each valued at $4,000, to selected secondary schools in the greater Wellington region. Eligible students must be enrolling in their first year of full-time study towards a multi-year diploma or degree programme, and must submit a personal statement outlining their desire and ability to succeed in their chosen field of study, as well as their reasons for applying.

Josh, 18, says he always knew he wanted a career that would give him the opportunity to help people, but wasn’t sure that medicine or nursing were for him. While at college, a personal experience gave him an insight into social work, so when it came time to look at tertiary study choices, the Bachelor of Social Work at Whitireia was an attractive option.

‘Whitireia was the best choice for me,’ says Josh. ‘It offered the best course and the opportunity for applied learning through a number of field placements. Being close to home is also a bonus.

‘The scholarship has made me even more motivated and excited to study here. I’m just extremely grateful to have been chosen as a recipient, and I’m loving every minute of my course,’ he says.

Whitireia Schools Liaison team leader Fiona Wain says the polytechnic is incredibly proud to support passionate young people in their studies.

‘Josh is a great example of the personal qualities we look to foster in our students,’ says Wain, ‘and we know he will do well in his studies.’

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Whitireia tutor welcomes World Health Day message

Whitireia Nursing Pacific tutor Dr Lucy Nguma believes the key to addressing soaring rates of diabetes across the world is greater public education, and says it is fantastic that the focus of last week’s World Health Day was on increasing awareness about the disease and its staggering burden and consequences.

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World Health Day is an annual initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has called for serious action in this area. Around 442 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with the disease and that number is expected to double in the next 20 years. In New Zealand, 250,000 people are affected by the condition, and another 40 are diagnosed every day.

Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation, and WHO projects that it will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030. However, it can be treated effectively with a healthy diet, regular exercise, medication, and regular screening and treatment for complications.

Dr Nguma’s PhD research focussed on health seeking and health-related behaviour for type 2 diabetes, and she says that the condition could be more effectively controlled and managed by increasing access to diagnosis, self-management education and affordable treatment.

She says that these issues are particularly pronounced in low- and middle-income countries, such as her home country of Tanzania, but notes that they also contribute to poor diabetes-related outcomes in some New Zealand communities. She points out that Pasifika people have much higher rates of diabetes, as well as diabetes mortality and complications, compared to the total New Zealand population.

Dr Nguma, who also has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, an Advanced Diploma in Nursing Education and a Master in Public Health, began teaching on the Whitireia Bachelor of Nursing Pacific​ programme this year, specialising in bioscience and nursing knowledge. She says her diverse background gives her a holistic perspective on health services, and notes that this inclusive approach is vital to the delivery of education on the Nursing Pacific programme.

The programme has been designed specifically for Pacific students, with a particular focus on the health needs of Pacific communities within the New Zealand context. ​​Dr Nguma says her background will also provide these students with a deep understanding of the issues surrounding diabetes in their communities, and provide them with the tools to best deal with these when they are working in the health sector.

Whitireia celebrates student success

This year’s graduation ceremony is officially done and dusted, and the event went down in typically colourful fashion. A crowd of over 2,000 turned out to see around 450 graduates from the Faculties of Arts, Business & IT, Health and Te Wānanga Māori celebrate their success with whānau, friends, peers and academic staff.

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There were also a number of milestones celebrated at this year’s ceremony, including the 30th birthday of Whitireia, and the graduation of the institution’s first Masters graduate and first Toi Poutama (Māori Arts) graduate. Leutele Grey (pictured below) graduated with a Master of Information Technology, while Moana Hilliard graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Toi Poutama).

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The event was only made more vibrant by the numerous haka, karanga, waiata and general acknowledgment received by each graduate as they crossed the stage. This is something that undoubtedly sets the Whitireia graduation ceremony apart. You would be hard-pressed to find a more festive ceremony anywhere in the world; it is an event that truly captures the spirit of Whitireia.

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Congratulations to all those who graduated on Thursday, we wish you every success.

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe he maunga teitei.
(Seek the treasure you value most dearly; if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain).

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