second Māori ever to study medicine at Harvard
Koan Hemana of Rotorua Boys' High School will study at Harvard College in Boston, US, with the hope of eventually getting into its prestigious post-grad medical school.
The dire shortage of Māori medical practitioners was what drove him to be of service to his local community, he said.
"I'm very passionate about Māori health inequities. We dominate the wrong side of health in this country, suffering more from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, suicide and things like that. I've witnessed that within my own family.
"And me being a part of the indigenous people, the Māori people, it's sort of served as a motivator to want to make change - or at least contribute as much as I possibly can."
Hemana said Harvard was an obvious choice, because it had the best resources and would give him the best first step to achieving his goals.