Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Maraehara te takiwa
Ko Te Whanau a Karuwai te hapu
Ko Karuwai te marae
Ko Ngāti Porou te iwi
WHEN new Turanga Health kaimahi Hadyn Pomana learned there weren’t enough Māori psychologists in Aotearoa, she decided to become one.
“Only five percent of psychologists registered in Aotearoa are Māori, yet we figure highly for mental health statistics and suicide rates.”
The inequity annoyed the Ngāti Porou wahine. So, she researched a career in psychology, and the nearly eight-year course to become a doctor didn’t put her off. “This is all about the needs of my people,” says Ms Pomana, who has now earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (psychology).
Ms Pomana, 45, has more postgraduate study to complete, as well as 18 months of clinical practice before she can apply for a job as a psychologist. Right now, she is in the process of earning professional registration with the Drug and Alcohol Practitioners Association Aotearoa New Zealand, so her addiction practice is endorsed.
“More needs to be done to improve mental health outcomes for Māori and this is my way of doing that.”
While studying, Ms Pomana has worked in roles that complement her passion for supporting iwi. Over the past ten years she has worked at Te Kura O Te Muriwai and Community Clinic, Tairāwhiti. Then, this year, Ms Pomana joined Turanga Health as a Community Action Youth Alcohol and Drugs kaiāwhina.
Ms Pomana says she has always admired the work of the iwi health provider having worked alongside Turanga Health kaimahi in educational settings. “I know Turanga Health offers practical solutions to issues that our people face. I have seen it and I wanted to be part of it.”
Ms Pomana and her husband Caine Pomana are kaitiaki on iwi land at Whareongaonga and as a result, have observed a lot of the work Turanga Health does with the Muriwai and Manutuke communities. “My whānau here and in Muriwai are better off because of Turanga Health.”
In her work as a CAYAD kaiāwhina Ms Pomana and her colleague Waldo Horomia, recently contributed to the review of the Supply and Sale of Alcohol (Community Participation) Amendment Bill.
They are also responding to the alarming rise in child vaping. Once again, it’s the statistics that have helped propel Ms Pomana to focus on this kaupapa. The Tairāwhiti region is saturated with 29 vape shops - the country’s most per capita. On Gladstone Rd alone there are eight, and there are three in Elgin.
“It’s horrible for this region to be leading those statistics,” says Ms Pomana. “I like numbers and those numbers tell us a story about what’s happening. I want to see if we can affect change.”
When she’s not at work, Ms Pomana is heavily involved in the martial arts Muay Thai. She instructs athletes in the ancient combat sport in te reo Māori at Rangataua o Aotearoa. Two out of three of her children have competed at an international level and later this year she will accompany her teenage daughter to Turkey in her bid to win back her age group title.
Life’s busy but Ms Pomana wouldn’t change a thing. “I’m a nerd at heart and I have a passion to give back to our communities, particularly to rangatahi. For me, it’s about where can I fit into that at a practical level, and right now I have found the places where I can do that.”
Email us if you want to receive our media releases.