Catherine Latailakepa-Tu'akalau was born in Palmerston North and lived here for her first couple of years.
Her father's job then took the family to Auckland and Wellington.
"I never thought I would come back here, but here I am."
She joined Group Medical Chambers in February as its nurse practitioner.
Until now her nursing career had been hospital based. Primary care is a new field to her, but she loves it. With a background in children and adolescents, she is enjoying the focus on education and prevention, particularly as we head into winter and the flu season.
Conditions such as bronchiolitis, asthma and viral-induced wheeze can be managed in the community keeping children out of hospital, she says.
As a nurse practitioner, Latailakepa-Tu'akalau can order tests and investigations and prescribe medicine. She brings the frontline nursing experience of triage to care plans.
Latailakepa-Tu'akalau is a fan of referrals to other services. "If we can all work together it just makes the job easier doesn't it."
She is married to carpenter Alfred Tu'akalau and they have a daughter, Juliet, 4. They
live in Levin where they have bought a house after moving from Lower Hutt.
Latailakepa-Tu'akalau decided to be a nurse because she had relatives who died from preventable conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Seeing them in hospital all the time made her think why.
She is conscious of the financial and social burdens on a family when a member is in hospital. Mum stays with the sick child, and that can mean the family is one income down and there is no one to drop off and pick up the other children.
Latailakepa-Tu'akalau combined her four years of part-time study for her Master of Nursing from Massey University with working full time at Hutt Valley District Health Board as a paediatric nurse. She felt she could do more than being a registered nurse, but it meant she had to do more study.
She is keen to be a Pacific face in the healthcare sector. Sometimes Pacific people wait for things to get worse and she wants to change that attitude. If you have a history of high blood pressure, have it checked and receive help to get on the right path instead of waiting until it is skyrocketing and you can't breathe.
She says Pacific people are more likely to respond to a Pacific health professional. She is
fluent in Samoan and Tongan so can explain to a patient why they need to take a particular medication in their mother language.
Latailakepa-Tu'akalau says there is a literacy deficit and a digital deficit among some Pacific people and they can fall through the cracks.
Her father, Livisi Latailakepa, was born in Tonga. His villages are Ma'ufanga and Kolofalahola. He studied at Massey University and was a secondary school teacher in Palmerston North.
Her mother, Samalaulu Latailakepa (nee Luafalealo) was born in Samoa and her village is Luatuanu'u.
Latailakepa-Tu'akalau's parents now live in Upper Hutt.
As she puts it, she has the best of both worlds.
• Latailakepa-Tu'akalau is enrolling young families at Group Medical Chambers.