In November, our school hosted the annual Te Whe visit. The purpose of Te Whe is to raise aspirations, expose rangatahi (young people) to science, Māori role models and potential career choices and to encourage the participation, achievement and retention in the applied sciences through secondary school years.
Ehsan Vaghefi and Jason Turuwhenua used the multidisciplinary labs to demonstrate basics of optics for the students with the aim of getting them interested in optometry as a potential career option. Zaria Burden gave a short talk at the end of the session, describing the advantages of being an optometrist and answering student questions.
Feedback from the students included their surprise at learning that the University of Auckland is the only place to train as an optometrist in New Zealand, how few Māori are represented in the industry, and that there is a need for more optometrists.
After the workshop, 16 students identified as either likely or very likely to consider optometry as a career pathway.