Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

The Tapsell whānau tradition continues

By Regan Paranihi
  • South Island

Ngāti Whakaue medical graduand Jack Tapsell will become the third member of his family to graduate with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from the University of Otago.

Tapsell will join 75 Māori graduands from Otago’s health professional degrees in the largest cohort of Māori health professionals to graduate from the university.

He will also follow in the footsteps of his father, Rees Tapsell, and grandfather, Peter Tapsell, who both graduated with the same degree during their time at the University of Otago.

Jack says he feels grateful knowing he is following in a similar direction to his predecessors.

“I don’t know where in medicine I will end up, but I know it’s special to follow my whānau into becoming another Māori doctor.”

Rees says seeing a large number of Māori graduating with medical degrees is something he hardly saw thirty years ago when he was at Otago.

“My father could never have dreamed that this would one day be so and it is only a shame that he did not live to celebrate it with Jack and I.”

He adds that medicine is a tough degree, but the rewards at the end are worth it.

“It takes dedication, hard work and sacrifice, but it opens the door to so many wonderful opportunities.”

“It is wonderful to be able to now call Jack not only my son but my colleague,” says Rees.