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Photo: Kaiāwhina Renata Watene speaks with rangatahi about optometry as a career

The annual Te Whe programme took place in June this year. The event is aimed at Year 11 Māori rangatahi and is part of the faculty’s Vision 20:20 initiatives to raise students’ aspirations. It raises students’ awareness of potential career choices and knowledge pathways, and how studying science can open up options – including giving students a glimpse into the exciting world of optometry.

The session started with an introduction to optometry by Professional Teaching Fellow Kaiāwhina Renata Watene, who explained what an optometrist does, how few Māori optometrists there are and where her career has taken her. Ashley Grey then shared some insights into what a degree in optometry entails, where it can take you and some examples of patients she has helped in practice.

Students were then able to get involved with some simple optometric tests and learn about colour vision, stereovision and how these can be used to diagnose conditions. They also gained an insight into the aids and technology available to help optometrists, as well as the different research areas that a career in optometry can lead to (thanks to Ehsan, Selassie and Soheil).

A fun and engaging day which led to some extremely positive feedback from the visiting students including:

  • “I might want to be a [sic] optometrist so I can take care of family and see if they have a disease, which could help in the long run as they are aware of what they have and can get help.”
  • “It was when one of the guys who said that he loved his job and enjoyed it.”
  • “That physics has a wider range of future paths, not just math stuff.”