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Fog-bound vet takes road trip for graduation

Friday, May 16, 2008

Fog-bound vet takes road trip for graduation

Being fog-bound at Hamilton Airport did not stop Veterinary Science graduate Te Oru Mikaere from attending the University’s ceremony to honour Maori graduates, held at the Regent on Broadway in Palmerston North this morning. The 22-year-old made a four-hour drive just in time to join friends and family in The Square for the after-function celebration.

Mr Mikaere (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Pukenga) is the grandson of Te Maharanui Jacob, one of the first Maori vets in New Zealand. Both his grandparents trained as vets in Australia, Mr Mikaere says, with both now retired and living in Levin.

“I have always known I have loved animals and because I had my grandparents who were vets and parents who exposed me to lots of opportunities I decided halfway through high school I was going to be a vet,” Mr Mikaere says. “When I decide I’m quite determined so its been in the making for the last eight or nine years.”

Mr Mikaere is a former pupil of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Ara Rima and Hamilton’s Hillcrest High School. He already has a job, in Te Awamutu, working in vet practice covering farm and companion animals.

“Eventually I’ll go overseas, maybe to the UK, but for the first couple of years I’ll get some experience.”

Mr Mikaere says returning home to his whanau was a major factor in being able to complete the tough BVSc degree.

“It is hard, my parents helped a lot – they didn’t put too much pressure on me. There’s a lot of pressure on you, it is a little bit competitive and it can get too much at times so I really enjoyed going home, seeing the family, just a bit of peace. Also, I just really wanted to do it.

Mr Mikaere’s sister is at medical school, while his mother is a lawyer for Te Wanaga o Raukawa in Otaki. Through his father’s work as principal of Manaia School, in the Coromandel, he is aware of how being seen by others can broaden their expectations of education.

“My dad is now exposing lots of others to opportunities – younger cousins see all the options they can consider and we’re now seeing a lot of them go to university. As a result of me graduating they now see little Maori country kids can go out and do it.”

Mr Mikaere was one of 68 graduates attending the ceremony to honour Maori graduates, while this year’s graduations see more than 300 Maori graduate across each of the Auckland, Wellington and Palmerston North campuses.


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