EIT graduate Cath Healey is raising the voice about health inequity issues in New Zealand.
Healey studied for a degree in counselling and Masters in Professional Practice and began working at Te Rangihaeata Oranga, Gambling Recovery Service in Hastings three years ago.
She says gambling is a big issue in Hawke's Bay with 40 venues available as well as online gambling.
"Pokie machines are everywhere and they are highly addictive.
"Gambling affects every part of people's life, finances, family, work and mental health. We get all sorts of challenging issues through this door," she said.
She argues that legislation and the health system don't seem to reflect Māori beliefs, values and practices.
"I guess that my studies turned me into an academic activist, a voice and an advocate for Māori inequities. It's important to know the historical context and the impacts that colonisation had and still has on our people. The trauma hasn't ended."
She believes working for a kaupapa Māori service provider enables her to integrate Māori practices with the western therapeutic approach.
"I'm both, counsellor and facilitator, and this holistic approach is very empowering. I can take my clients to the GP or other services, organise food parcels or medical treatment, go with them to court and follow them up. The bottom line is that our door is a door that never closes.
"I can take clients to the beach, karakia, reconnect with the land and create more than just a therapeutic relationship. It's incredibly rewarding. I'm able to provide people with options to change their way of thinking. Probably I always go a little bit beyond what's expected but this is how I roll," she said.
Healey believes postgradute study allowed her to take her work to the next level.
"It made me reflect in depth about my mahi and myself while extending the knowledge and skills I need to work more professionally.
"I'm a grassroots kind of person but the qualification brought my work to a different space. It made me think more politically," she said.