Topics: Education, Health

All smiles after being accepted to study dentistry

By Talisa Kupenga
  • Wellington
  • South Island

Having received his final NCEA results, former Wainuiomata High School student Ethan Kamana (Tuhoe, Kahungunu ki Wairoa, Taranaki, Maniapoto) is one step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a dentist.

“I was nervous but really happy when I saw my marks because I got university entrance and a merit endorsement for biology. If I didn’t get UE I would have had to have changed my plans.”

Kamana will attend Otago University this year and complete six years of study including a bridging course to get his degree.

“I want to become a dentist for my family and my people because I know Māori don’t have the best oral health and I want to help change that.

“It’s important to have Māori dentists so Māori can help other Māori improve their oral health.”

Father, Aaron Kamana- who says he’s in need of a new tooth- says the family is very proud.

“We never thought he would choose to be a dentist, it was out of the blue if anything.

“But we just tried to give him the tools and opportunities to be able to make his own decisions and he has had a lot of support from his teachers and the family.”

Kamana says his love of science and seeing the poor condition of his family’s teeth is what prompted him to pursue this career.

He has also secured a $10,000 scholarship to help pay for university accommodation.

“When I finish I will come back to Wellington to help my family, I’d like to go to Tuhoe and help my people there and then I will try my best to help as many others as I can throughout New Zealand.”

Last year seven of the 83 students who graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree were Māori.

Of eleven postgraduate students, two Maori students also graduated with a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry degree.