Tenacity pays off for Maori medical scholar

By Mikaela Collins -
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BROAD HORIZONS: Mataroria Lyndon has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and will be heading to Harvard University to complete a masters degree in public health. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
BROAD HORIZONS: Mataroria Lyndon has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and will be heading to Harvard University to complete a masters degree in public health. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A Northland-raised doctor heading to Harvard is encouraging youth to try and try again after he received three scholarships he initially missed out on.

Mataroria Lyndon, of Ngati Hine, Ngati Hau and Ngati Wai descent, was presented a Fulbright Scholarship during a ceremony at Parliament on Tuesday night. It is one of three scholarships Mr Lyndon has received, along with a scholarship from the Rose Hellaby Maori Education Fund and a Frank Knox scholarship, which will aid his studies at Harvard University where he will complete a masters degree in public health.

But Mr Lyndon missed out on all three scholarships the first time he applied, which is why he is urging rangatahi (youth) to keep trying if they are not successful the first time round.

"I do tell rangatahi about that because I think it's important. It's about giving it a go and not giving up," he said.

Mr Lyndon, who went to kohanga in Tikipunga and primary school in Pipiwai before moving to South Auckland, currently works at Middlemore Hospital as the clinical leader of Ko Awatea.

He said he will be going to Boston in August, in hope of learning new ways to improve Maori health.

"I will be going over with my eyes open. I'm doing public health so I will be looking at strategies and innovations that I can learn from and take on board that might help improve hauora Maori."

He said he was quite lucky to receive the scholarships because of the high course fees at Harvard, US$60,000 ($90,000), but he was particularly excited about becoming part of the Fulbright Scholarship network.

"It's not being given the funding but more about the network. It brings people together with different backgrounds like geology and health," he said.

Another Fulbright scholarship was Maia Wikaira of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngapuhi and Te Rarawa descent, who is from Turangi but has Northland connections. Mr Lyndon, who was also the recipient of a Ngati Hine Health Trust Scholarship, said the pair hoped to be positive role models to young Maori.

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