Pasifika Health Leaders Webinar: “The importance of sharing our successes and failures”

Samoan paediatrician and paediatric intensivist, Dr Fiona Perelini (MBChB, FRACP, FCICM) is passionate about medicine and lives by a simple mantra. 

“Each time I’ve made a decision, I ask myself if is this what I want to do for the rest of my life? This has dictated my decisions over the years. 

I love what I do. Paediatric medicine involves not just children but their families. I love seeing children, I love looking after them and I have loved working with the various medical teams –in Samoa and New Zealand.” 

Dr Perelini is based at Auckland’s Starship Hospital and has spent time working in the paediatrics ICU unit and is currently a Paediatric Cardiology Fellow.  Raised in Samoa, Dr Perelini came to New Zealand to study medicine in Dunedin and Wellington and graduated in 2003. 

“I loved science at school and that combined with a love for people drew me to a career in medicine,” she says.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr Perelini has enjoyed a career in various roles in paediatrics and has worked in Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne and Samoa.  She also was involved in a pilot study for a screening programme detecting rheumatic heart disease in children aged between 11 and 12. 

Dr Perelini will be one of the guest speakers at the next Pasifika Health Leaders Webinar presented by the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA). She will share with the PMA members her journey to becoming a doctor and aims to inspire Pasifika students who are currently studying at medical school. 

“The reality is that when I first graduated, it was hard to see what was possible as there weren’t many Pasifika medical professionals. It’s important, for our Pacific Island students and trainees, to see others who have gone before them to show them that anything is possible. 

It’s important to hear stories from Pasifika doctors, to hear their successes and their failures.  It’s not an easy road. Building a network of people around you to mentor, support, encourage you is really important. “

Dr Perelini says she will talk about why she loves working in paediatrics and paediatric intensive care and will encourage the students to consider specialising in this area after they finish their studies.

“I want to expose Pacific trainees to different areas in medicine, but I am especially passionate about paediatrics. The more Pacific doctors we have in this area, the better. I want them to understand that the road maybe long, but if you’re passionate about it, then anything is possible.” 

Please join the session in person at one of the designated hospitals or campus locations or tune in online via zoom. Please see the following link for registration and webinar information including details of locations and zoom link:


Date: Friday 09 October 2020