Māori paediatrician off to Oxford University

By Taroi Black

The son of two prominent social campaigners is about to make his mark on global health issues.

Dr Te Aro Moxon is the son of Anglican Bishop Sir David Moxon – a former graduate of Oxford - and Maori health advocate Lady Tureiti Moxon.

The paediatrician has just won a prestigious Commonwealth scholarship to study a master’s degree in science in global health and epidemiology. He is one of a small group of 25selected  from around the world.

“I am blessed to have parents who ensured that I would get an education," Moxon says. "They’ve advised me to do my best and reach the highest levels in my studies while I’m there.”

Moxon has big plans for his return to Waikato to address health inequities suffered by Māori.

The scholarship is part of the Chevening Secretariat, an international scheme that enables students who have gained or practise leadership qualities from over 160 countries. The funding for the scheme comes from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its partner organisations.

One-year degree

“Most studies for masters degrees across the globe usually take two years to finish. This one has been cut down to one year so I have a lot of work cut out for me to complete,” Moxon says.

He is a graduate of The University of Auckland and Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo Maori.

Moxon is following in his mother’s footsteps, who has campaigned for health equity for Maori through the Waitangi Tribunal.

Her son has already led the implementation of Indigenous language and culture teaching sessions for medical, nursing and allied health staff in the Paediatric Department, Renal Outreach Team and Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at the Royal Darwin Hospital, Australia.

Last year he became a member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Trainees Committee, as Māori representative.

He also led the implementation of the initiative, Doctors Teaching Doctors Māori language, in the paediatric department at Waikato District Health Board (DHB). This initiative involved 10-minute teaching sessions once a week on the basics of the Māori language, with the aim to increase doctors’ confidence in pronouncing Māori words and using the language.

Reducing inequity

Before that, he had provided teaching to staff Te Kōhao Health, a Māori primary health provider, on child protection issues.

“There are too many health inequities impacting on our people hence why I have a huge passion to complete these studies to find better outcomes and to reduce inequity and raising equity.”   

 “A lot of research needs to be put in place for the current population health that impacts on our children, so my aim is to address what it is needed.”