Living manaakitanga

Issue: Volume 93, Number 11

Posted: 30 June 2014
Reference #: 1H9ct5

Education Gazette continues its series on recent recipients of the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial scholarships. The next round opens on 1 July 2014, so if you know of a talented Māori student heading for tertiary education next year, encourage them to apply. In this issue, we meet Ariana Andrews.

Ariana Andrews, of Te Whakatōhea and Waikato descent, is working towards her life goal of being a health professional who is there for people at one of the most vulnerable points in their lives: when their health has failed them.

She is currently studying medicine and surgery at Auckland University, and she has begun the first of her three years of clinical training at Rotorua Hospital. At the moment, she’s just trying to absorb everything she can and learn from the seasoned professionals of the fast-paced medical world.

“It’s awesome. I love it. We don’t have any responsibilities yet; we’re just latching onto whoever we can to see what they do. In a couple of years, it’ll be more like [the way] people think about surgeons, I guess. Everyone really stressed out and all that!

“It’s not overwhelming for me so far. I’m really just realising how much I don’t know, and how much I will need to know, and how much I’ve forgotten!

“But we are looked after really well. It’s not too full-on.”

Ariana feels that her future career in medicine and surgery will be complemented by one of the core concepts that underpinned her upbringing and the way she operates today: manaakitanga. Manaakitanga describes a living Māori cultural concept of reciprocity of kindness, humanity, respect, and nurturing relationships.

“To me, it’s about trying to do my best to ensure that others are able to be at their best. For me, a huge part of medicine is about helping others to get back into what they want to be doing. I’m doing orthopaedics at the moment, looking at joints and bones, and we’ve been talking about how if someone’s got limited movement but no pain, and they’re able to function normally, then you wouldn’t really need to intervene. But if someone’s got full movement but lots of pain, it’s about trying to figure out how we can give that person the best outcome, taking into account all the circumstances of their lives. The concept of manaakitanga is related, I think, to helping people to get through a vulnerable time in their lives.”

Ariana is a member of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation) New Zealand Youth Reference Group. She found out about the UNESCO New Zealand Youth Reference Group through the Rotary club she is involved with in Newmarket, Auckland. Ariana was inspired to see if she could contribute to the project. The organisation agreed that she could, and she embarked on a year term on the reference group.

The Reference Group comprises 12 young people from throughout the country who have been recognised as leaders among their peers. They help the Reference Group’s special youth advisor to gather perspectives on the thoughts and needs of young people in New Zealand, and to help the advisor represent our country among the nations of the Pacific, New Zealand’s UNESCO cluster.

“It was put together to try to increase youth involvement in UNESCO. They have had a youth representative in the past, but how can one person represent such diversity? There’s 12 of us spread throughout New Zealand. Most of us are in university, and there’s a couple of young journalists as well. The idea is that it’s a cross-section of youth to advocate for youth interests. Last year, one of us went to the United Nations youth meeting before the big UN general assembly. One of the things that we did was work out what we wanted our representative to say on behalf of the youth of New Zealand.”

Ariana’s academic and leadership strengths have been apparent throughout her young life. She has been actively involved as a role model for Year 13 Māori students who are considering a career in health, and she is a recipient of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award. As part of the award, Ariana took part in a week-long development programme hosted and sponsored by Rotary Club. The programme is “an experiential live-in programme designed to help young people develop their team work and communication skills and fulfil their potential as leaders”.

Like all the other Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Scholarship recipients Education Gazette has spoken to, there is in Ariana’s life the constant thread of solid whānau support. Ariana thinks that any success she’s had so far can be attributed to that foundation.

“I would straight away say any success I’ve had, it’s all down to lots of whānau support. That’s just huge. When things go wrong, and you’ve got good support, your whānau is there to pick you up, and they’re there also to make you feel good when you’re doing well. Everything else in your life is fluid, but whānau is the solid foundation that you can always turn to.”

When asked what advice Ariana would give to aspiring but hesitant Māori students, she immediately displays the humility that is an important ingredient shared by all those who are not just successful professionally, but as a member of a family, and a community.

“Well I don’t know if I should be commenting because I’m still there myself! There’s a few attributes that anyone needs to be able to achieve success on their own terms, according to what they value. Hard work is a pretty big one. So, too, is using your networks of support because you can’t do it on your own. And of course passion for what you’re doing.”

We all know, of course, that determination and a great work ethic are crucial to success in any field, but when pressed to give specifics on how she manages to maintain her strength in the face of daunting odds, she offers this little technique that she believes might be helpful to others.

“One thing I do quite a lot is to try to be constantly mindful of whether whatever I’m doing is the best use of my time. If for example, you’re hanging out with friends, and you’re having a great time, I think that can be a valuable use of my time, if it’s what I need to be happy and healthy”.

“But if I’m just doing absolutely nothing, then it’s like ‘no, this is not a good use of my time. I should think about doing something productive.’ I find that’s a good way of making time for recreational stuff as well, and not feeling guilty about it because you’re actually doing the things you want to and that you need for a balanced life.”

For information about the Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial scholarships(external link)

BY Jaylan Boyle
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:26 pm, 30 June 2014

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