Next on the agenda for the elective was a quick stop off to Melbourne for a conference called the LIME connection.  This conference brought together indigenous people from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Hawaii for a week of discussions about what was being done to improve indigenous education in medical curriculum.

As Australia was hosting this year, we were welcomed in traditional local aboriginal fashion with a formal welcome to country. Where in New Zealand we might have a powhiri, the Aboriginal welcome to country is about being welcomed to the land. Experiencing the magic of music and dance under the smoke of burning eucalyptus was amazing.

This proved to be an excellent week for asking a lot of hard questions. Why were we having so much of a struggle with indigenous student outcomes? Why were there so few indigenous students persuing such careers, and ultimately, what was stopping them?

I personally found this a rewarding forum to be in. Meeting so many doctors, students and teachers from around the world who shared my passion for indigenous people achieving was empowering. Anybody who works in health care knows that the burden of disease is often shared disproportionately among indigenous populations who have been colonised. With a stronger drive than ever for equality, the importance of indigenous doctors is now greater than ever. As a future Maori doctor, i found myself more driven than ever to achieve for the sake of myself and the future of my people.

I do think one thing is for certain after this trip though – I’m really not sure I’m cut out for city life! Sheesh that place is busy.  After the LIME connection my next stop is Zanzibar in Tanzania where I’ll be for the next month.