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Student Profiles

Dr Peetikuia Wainui
Ngā Ariki Kaiputahi, Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Background Summary:

After 30 years in the city, I relocated to my turangawaewae at Whatatutu near Gisborne, and transferred to Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi to complete the doctoral study I had begun at Victoria University, Wellington.

Studying with a Māori-driven institution was significantly different from my year of doctoral study with a mainstream university, where there was a struggle for Māori supervision and already an overload of post-graduate students. With Awanuiārangi, supervision by Māori academics was a given.

The subject of my PhD research was breast cancer in wāhine Māori. Statistics reveal that wāhine Māori are nearly twice as likely to die from the disease as non-Māori, more likely to present with breast cancer at a more advanced stage, less likely to get regular mammograms, more likely to delay treatments and not so likely to finish drug treatment following breast cancer.

My thesis was stimulated by concern about the rarity of reliable and evidence-based literature on the impact of breast cancer on these wāhine. There is a great need to increase literature in this field, particularly on culturally appropriate approaches that are vital to ensure effective, safe and strong health outcomes for indigenous women with breast cancer.

As a survivor myself, I sought an indepth understanding of the impact of breast cancer on a whānau of wāhine Māori. The research resulted in recommendations including a health and wellness breast cancer framework, Te Ngāwari Mate Pukupuku Ū.

The transmission of breast cancer knowledge through education is vital to assist wāhine Māori to be more proactive and assertive in seeking medical breast examinations.