Teina Rihari

Teina Rihari

Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) in Psychology student
Bachelor of Health Science in Psychology

Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai

She plans to use her understanding of psychology and neuroscience to help her community, says Teina Rihari who is currently completing a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) in Psychology.

“Studying psychology appealed to me because Māori are disproportionately affected by mental illness in New Zealand, however there is a distinct lack of brown faces and culturally competent services in mental healthcare to address this.”

Expecting to complete her honours degree at the end of 2021, Teina has a clear idea how she sees her future.

“My end goal is to continue into the counselling psychology master’s programme at AUT and become a counselling psychologist.”

A passion for Māori mental health
For her Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) dissertation, Teina is exploring the experiences of Māori parents with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

“I came to my supervisor only knowing that I wanted to do some form of research that could contribute to the distinct lack of research around Māori mental health. Associate Professor Daniel Shepherd – who is my supervisor for my honours degree dissertation – specialises in Autism research and my research topic developed organically from those two pathways.”

Her research has the potential to make a difference to Māori communities as well as to the psychology profession.

“This research could help to add to the limited research around Māori and ASD. Similarly, it could influence further research that could enact practice or policy change to address the cultural incompetency within mental healthcare in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Learning from the best
For Teina, studying psychology at AUT has been inspiring.

“I came to AUT knowing that I wanted to study psychology, and the lecturers and the content we’ve learnt has kept my interest alive and kept me motivated. I’ve also enjoyed being based in the AUT Centre of Interdisciplinary Trauma Research (CITR) for my research.”

The calibre of the academic staff has been what has impressed her most.

“I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some of the most interesting and experienced lecturers and guest lecturers at AUT. They’ve all been incredibly open to sharing their experiences in practice and it has kept me extremely engaged throughout my studies.”

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