In 2019, Tongan psychiatrist Dr Etuini Ma’u (FRANZCP) spent seven weeks in his homeland of Tonga on a sabbatical with Dr Mapa Puloka, a fellow Tongan psychiatrist who Dr Ma’u has always admired and respected.
“Dr Puloka has been the sole psychiatrist in Tonga for the last 30 years and has been a tireless advocate for mental health. Thirty years on, he remains passionate about his patients and mental health promotion. I’ve been impressed by what he has achieved with so little resource.”
Dr Ma’u will follow in his mentor’s footsteps and will become an inspiration to other Pacific medical students planning to specialise in psychiatry. He will be one of three Pacific psychiatrists who will speak during the fourth installment of the Pasifika Health Leaders Webinar Series, presented by the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) and supported by the University of Otago and the University of Auckland.
Guest speakers include an opening address from Dr Francis Agnew (MNZM, FRANZCP, FACHAM) and fellow psychiatrist Dr Brittany Stanley-Wishart (MBChB). This impressive line-up will speak about their experiences in the field of psychiatry and give Pacific medical students an opportunity to get an insight into their specialisation.
“Psychiatry, probably more than any other medical specialty, is about recognising the impact life challenges have on our sense of self and identity. Pacific health professionals offer so much more than medical knowledge to their pacific patients, they bring understanding and a shared lived experience.”
Dr Ma’u is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Old Age Psychiatry at the Waikato District Health Board where he has been practicing for the past 10 years. He is also a senior lecturer for the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Auckland. Dr Ma’u was raised in Tonga where he completed the majority of his education and spent his senior years in New Zealand at Wesley College.
He says the Pacific Health Leader’s Webinar is a chance for future Pacific medical professionals to hear from experienced practitioners like himself and find out why they chose this field as their specialty.
“It’s important for Pacific students to know that we have all come through a similar system and grappled with many of the same issues they face – the micro aggressions, subtle and not so subtle racism, unconscious biases, the constant juggle of family, community commitments and study.
Most importantly, Pacific students need to understand they not only deserve to be in their chosen course of study but bring something else to the table that others don’t – the innate ability to connect, engage, and understand their Pacific patients.”
The fourth instalment of the Pasifika Health Leaders Webinar is on this Wednesday 28 July from 5pm-6pm.
Join us in person at various hospitals and university locations or online via zoom. To register please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/858LDTZ.
Date: Tuesday 27 July 2021