Welcome to the TūHOE blog
Mā te manawaroa ka eke
Brothers Charlton and Jonathan Martin (Tamakaimoana) say their Nanny Honey Tuhua lets them know when they are needed back home.
Spending time at Maungapōhatu hanging with the cuzzies and listening to stories of their tīpuna are among their favourite memories of Tūhoe.
After growing up in Sydney, they returned to Aotearoa for tertiary study. Their return has strengthened their connection to Te Mapou marae, when the opportunity arises each participate in whatever is required of them.
Carving out careers for themselves in the health sector, this year they were both successful in the Tūhoe education contributions.
When Charlton is not at wānana improving his te reo and understanding of tikana, he’s studying toward a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from the University of Auckland. Charlton honours the resilience of his tīpuna who endured overwhelming challenges.
“Understanding the connection we have with our whānau and tīpuna - and the experiences and trials they have passed through - helps us to understand who we are individually and what makes us who we are. It has always been my desire to be a doctor, even from a young age in primary school. I had set myself the challenge when I first heard it was something that was difficult for people to do.”
Never give up on your dreams
Unsuccessful in his first attempt to get into medical school, Charlton went on to undertake a Masters degree in Biomedical Science. In December 2015 he submitted his final thesis ‘Looking into the potential mechanisms of beta cell death in the onset of type 1 diabetes’ which turned out to be his golden ticket into medical school.
“The most pressing thing is to close the gap that exists for our people, particularly in health care. There should be no reason that we as Māori and Tūhoe should experience higher rates of preventable illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease and therefore a lower life expectancy. Everyone wants to see their mokopuna grow up and have a good quality of life.”
Younger brother Jonathan is in his 3rd year of Bachelor of Dental Surgery at Otago University and just like his tuakana travelled the long road to get to where he is today.
“I decided in Year 12 to do science subjects at school to study medicine at university. I passed my exams, but did not gain high enough marks to qualify for the intense pre-medicine year at university. I later took another route, a foundation year course in health sciences, to qualify for pre-medicine and was accepted. I completed the pre-medicine year, putting my head into the books and studying constantly, and was accepted into medicine and dentistry.”
Jonathan chose to study dentistry for the friendlier work-life balance it offers, allowing him more time with his wife Piri and their new baby daughter Kyla. An active volunteer for Māori health associations, he also volunteers time to helping young Māori students studying health succeed.
“There is an extremely high demand for Māori dentists, but only 60 places are offered at the Dental School each year, with only 3% representing Māori. Last year, only one Māori graduated.”
Jonathan is a man on a mission to improve the lives and smiles of his whānau, hapū and Iwi.
“My hopes for Tūhoe include the overall improvement of oral health, but more importantly, confidence in the smiles of my whānau…and will most definitely do my best to improve the lives and smiles of those I am able to assist.”
This dynamic duo refuse to let obstacles detour them from their goals - a true testament to the whakapapa of Tūhoe resilience.