Terence Pohatu Waikite Thornton Apiata

Terence Pohatu Waikite Thornton Apiata

Physiotherapist, Performance Plus & Wai Mauri Health, Hamilton
Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy)

Tuhoe, Ngati Awa, Te Whakatohea, Ngāpuhi

Seeing the change and progression for patients is rewarding, says Terence Pohatu Waikite Thornton Apiata who is now a physiotherapist for two private musculoskeletal clinics in the Waikato.

“As a musculoskeletal physiotherapist for Performance Plus and Wai Mauri Health in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton), my job requires me to assess and treat a variety of injuries. Using certain assessment techniques allows me to create the best treatment plan for each patient. What I enjoy most is working with people from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, and navigating through the treatment process with them. I’ve also found it very rewarding to be able to help people return to their daily activities or sports activities pain free and achieve their goals.

“Although I work in a private practice it still involves a collaborative approach with other disciplines to achieve our patients’ goals. At Wai Mauri Health in particular, we provide Rongoa Māori services, which is an awesome service that not only helps whānau physically but also mentally and spiritually.”

Terence loves being able to make a difference to people’s lives.

“I’m proud of being Māori and being able to make a difference for our whānau and community. But I’m most proud of putting in the mahi at university to now be able to live out my dream job as a physiotherapist.”

Supported to thrive
Like many physiotherapy students, Terence was inspired to consider a career in physiotherapy after being treated by a physiotherapist for a shoulder injury when he was in high school.

“They talked to me in detail about the role of a physiotherapist, and I instantly felt a connection with the profession and it sparked my interest. I had a passion for helping people and felt this pathway could be a suitable profession for me. I also saw the inequities Māori faced and felt that as a young Māori male I could give back to my community and people by working as a physiotherapist.”

He thoroughly enjoyed studying physiotherapy at AUT, says Terence whose studies were supported by a Norske Skog Scholarship and a Hauora Māori Scholarship.

“I built lifelong friendships/relationships at AUT which I will cherish forever. I was able to meet a lot of people from near and far through various conferences and social gatherings. I was privileged enough to be a part of the AUT Māori association Titahi Ki Tua, which was a home away from home for me and a big part of my journey within university.

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Office of Māori Advancement as if it wasn’t for my whaea Colleen I wouldn’t be a qualified physiotherapist. She assisted me in my application for physiotherapy and I’m nothing but grateful to her. The whānau room on the North Campus was always a safe space for me to study, eat, wananga and chill if I needed to. I’m also grateful for the support from Trent Dallas and whaea Tammi, from signing documents so I could receive scholarships to receiving Countdown vouchers or enjoying a free breakfast in the whānau room. I’m eternally grateful and appreciative of the Office of Māori Advancement.”

Advice for other students
Terence’s advice for other students is simple: make use of all the services available to students.

“The support services are there to support you through one of the most fun and challenging times of your life. If you’re a Māori student, get to know the whānau at Pou Māori – Māori Centre; they’ve got your back. If you’re a physio student, get to know the lecturers. They’re there to help you learn so don’t be shy to email them.”

Don’t forget to have fun, he adds.

“Make friends, socialise and get as much experience as you can. I now have lifelong friends thanks to my time at uni. But also do the mahi. As cliché as it sounds, you have to put in the work otherwise you don’t get the treats.”