Ihaia has always believed in a holistic approach to health, having been exposed to a wide range of treatments as a child after he lost his right eye to cancer. It was this experience, coupled with a sense of responsibility he feels to serve his local Ma-ori community, that ultimately led him towards chiropractic.
Ihaia wasn’t initially familiar with chiropractic, like many people in his community. He knew he wanted a career helping people, so began his studies by completing a Health Sciences degree at The University of Auckland. He was then about to embark on a medical degree, when he decided he needed to get hands on. After attending a College Open Day, he was hooked.
Life at the College
Alongside the practical component of the College’s curriculum, Ihaia loves the opportunities students have to make connections.
“In my study group we have our strengths and weaknesses and we help each other out. I know we will be mates for life, regardless of where we all end up.” Ihaia is excited to get into the Chiropractic Centre next year and put his knowledge to the test.
Unlocking the Mauri
Looking ahead, beyond graduation, Ihaia plans to return to his hometown of Gisborne to start his own practice. His aim is to raise the level of healthcare in the community after noticing several health inequalities for Ma-ori. For Ihaia, chiropractic resonates strongly with Ma-ori beliefs.
“There is a Ma-ori word called ‘Mauri’ – it means ‘life force’ – and to me that’s your innate energy, which aligns directly with chiropractic.”
‘Give it a go’
Stepping out of his comfort zone and doing his own research into the path he wants to take has seen Ihaia grow as an individual.
For others considering a career in chiropractic, Ihaia recommends attending an Open Day. “Come along and see first-hand what chiropractic could do for you – and what you could do for chiropractic.”