Dr Turuki Tahuri
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu/Ngāi Tūhoe te iwi
Ko Tākitimu te waka
Ko Whakapunake te maunga
Ko Whetu Marama te marae
Though his studies took a winding path over nearly a decade, Dr Turuki Tahuri says he always had his eyes on the prize . . . better health outcomes for Māori.
Turuki grew up in Wairoa then Auckland, where he excelled in both academia and sports before beginning his studies at the University of Auckland.
“I was always mindful of the inequities facing Māori so started in public health, which I thought could be a strong vehicle for change,” he says.
“But then I worked with a supervisor who had trained in both medicine and policy and was inspired by how that dual approach could be even more powerful so, during my Masters year, I switched to medicine.”
After graduating in 2013, Turuki worked first at Rotorua Hospital and then at Waikato, during which time he trained in paediatrics.
“But I decided that if I was going to be all about the kids – which I was – I'd be better placed if I moved away from hospital-based medicine to primary healthcare,” he says.
“I'd been lucky enough to work with some GPs who were right at the coalface and was inspired by their ability to work with patients, while at the same time producing evidence and policy that can be the driver to addressing those inequities that have failed Māori for so long.”
That meant adjusting his training – again – and Turuki will finish his education in General Practice at the end of 2022.
He says joining the team at Gisborne's Three Rivers Medical has had many benefits, not the least being a move back to Wairoa for him, his partner and their two (soon to be three) tamariki.
“It's a bit of a commute from Wairoa but Three Rivers is a great fit in that it is a multi-faceted practice with a well-established, diverse and dynamic interface.”
“But there is always room for more, which is why I promote medical training to our youth so that, going forward, Māori can feel comfortable in a setting that might not be of their making by bringing their own philosophies and culture into this space.”