Rhiannon (Ngāti Kahungunu) is a Dietitian at Hutt Valley District Health Board, working part-time in a clinical role and part-time in the community.
Anei ngā whakautu nā Rhiannon i tuhi i te reo Māori. Tirohia ki raro mō ngā whakautu ki roto i te reo Pākehā (Here are Rhiannon's answers in te reo Māori. See below for English translations).
He aha tō mahi ia rā, ia rā?
I te nuinga o te wā, e mahi ana ahau i te hohipera mō te haurua o te rā, i te hapori whānui mō te haurua o te rā. Ka tautokohia e au ngā tāngata i te hōhipera ki te kai pai i te taha o tā rātou māuiuitanga. He mātanga hora kai hāparapara īnaianei. E tautoko ana e au ngā tāngata i te hapori whānui ki te kai pai ki te ora pai.
I ako koe i te aha i te kura? I aha koe whai muri i te kura tuarua?
Nōku e tamariki ana i ako ahau i te pāngarau, te tatauranga, te mātai matū, te mātai ahupūngao me te ingarihi.
I te wā i tīmata i te Whare Wananga, i ngana ahau ki te mahi i te mahi tākuta. Kāore e taea e au ki te eke ki tērā taumata. He ahua pōuri ahau. Ēngari, i whakaaro ahau i ngā mea pai ki ahau (te kai me ngā tāngata), ā, i whaia e au te tohu paetahi mō te pūtaiao. Whai muri i tērā i ako ahau i te tāhū paerua mō te mātanga hora kai. I ako ahau i ētahi pepa Māori hoki, i te mea he mea tino tautoko i tāku mahi īnaianei.
He ōrite tāu mahi i taua wā ki tāu mahi o ināianei?
Āe. I haere tonu ahau ki te ara whai mātauranga mātanga hora kai.
He aha āu kupu hei āwhina i ngā rangatahi wahine e whakaaro ana ki tā rātou mahi mō te wā kei mua i te aroaro?
Mena e whai ana koe i tētahi mahi, tētahi tohu rānei kāore he pai te mahi i ētahi wā. Ēngari i te wā oti ka tūwhera he maha ngā kuaha ki a koe kia whai tētahi mahi tino pai ki a koe.
He aha ngā painga o te umanga e whāia ana e koe?
He mema ahau i te rūnanga o ngā mātanga hora kai o Aotearoa, he mema o Te Kahui Manukura o kai ora hoki (te roopu mō ngā mātanga hora kai Māori). Kātahi anō au ka hoki mai ki Aotearoa, mai i tāwahi. I haere au ki Ingarangi mahi ai ki reira. Tōku waimārie hoki nā te mea i whai tonu ahau i te ora pai mō ngā tāngata Māori kia kore ai ngā tōrite i te hauora.
He aha a STEM (pūtaiao, hangarau, pūkaha, pāngarau) e whai take ana ki Aotearoa?
Ko Aotearoa he wāhi ataahua. He mātauranga whānui e pā ana ki tēnei whenua. Mena e kore tātou e taea te whakamahi tēnei mātauranga whānui ka mate ngā tāngata, ka mate te whenua, ka mate hoki te mātaraunga.
He aha te take me whai wāhi ngā wāhine ki STEM?
He maha ngā mahi o STEM mo ngā wāhine, ēngari, kāore he tokomaha o ngā wāhine e mahi ana te mahi STEM. Ko te mea nui, ka whai wāhi ngā wāhine Māori ki STEM i te mea he nui te mahi e pā ana ki a Papatūānuku me te mahi e pā ana ki te mātauranga whānui.
What do you do on an average work day?
Most days I would do a half day in the hospital and a half day in the community. When I’m in the hospital I go to various wards to help people follow a diet that is best for them and their current illness.
At the moment I am getting some experience in surgical care so most of my patients are people who have had some form of gastrointestinal surgery. In the community I run clinics for people, most of whom need help following a healthier lifestyle.
What did you study at school? And after high school?
At school I did English, Statistics, Calculus, Chemistry and Physics. I probably should have taken Biology but I really liked the English teacher so I decided to take that instead.
I really wanted to be a Doctor initially so I took Health Sciences in my first year at Otago University. When I didn’t get in I was really disappointed, but after thinking about what I really like (food and people) I decided to do a Bachelor of Sciences in Human Nutrition and then continue on to do Dietetics. I also took Māori papers on the side for interest, which is a passion of mine and continues to aid my practice as a Dietitian.
Was your study directly related to what you do now?
Yes - and the Dietetics study in particular, as that information we learnt is now being applied to every day practice. There are still some parts of my study I don’t use and other parts I plan to use in the future, despite not using it right now.
What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?
Pursuing study or a career may not always be fun, though if you can find some part of that study or career that you feel passionate about or really enjoy, it will be worth it.
Keep going because once qualified and once in the workforce you will be amazed what doors open up for you. There are plenty of options for work and for further study to do something you love!
What are some of your career highlights so far?
I currently represent our Māori Dietitians on our governing council for the Professional Association and I am part of our Māori Dietitians group.
My qualification also allowed me to work in England for a year and I feel continually privileged to be part of the workforce working towards reducing health inequalities.
Why do you believe engaging in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is important to New Zealand?
We have a beautiful country with a lot of local knowledge that is not always used to its best ability. If we lack in this knowledge or aren’t using it appropriately our country will suffer – resource-wise, people-wise and economy-wise.
The people and the land are most important for our country so we need to look after and enhance these things before it is too late.
Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?
So much of STEM involves women, yet women aren't represented proportionately. In particular, we need Māori women in this field because so much of this work involves Papatūānuku and her resources, so using local knowledge is very important.
Rhiannon Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) is a Dietitian at Hutt Valley DHB working part-time in a clinical role and part-time in the community.
This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM.
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