He gets recognised in the street thanks to his part in a television campaign but nursing student Netane Takau is only focused on one thing – finishing his degree and using it for good.
The Kelston resident was one of three students chosen for a Unitec campaign called Change Starts Here and has featured in four 60-second TV advertisements tracking his progress over the past year.
The crew even followed him to Tonga in December where he spent a month catching up with family, speaking to high school students and teaching first aid classes.
The 21-year-old is on track to graduate with a bachelor of nursing in June and is already a part-time healthcare assistant at Waitakere Hospital.
Mr Takau never considered a nursing career when he was growing up in Tonga.
“They think it’s something females should do.
“I expected when I returned I’d get teased a bit but my friends were really supportive.”
Mr Takau’s aunt suggested he train as a nurse when he visited her in New Zealand and he decided to give it a go.
“I wasn’t really into it for the first semester but then I started to learn more.”
Then he started to enjoy it and realise how much he could help people.
Juggling his fulltime study with a part-time job and filming for the Change Starts Here campaign means Mr Takau has had a busy year.
And it’s not going to let up any time soon.
He plans to look for fulltime work in a hospital after he graduates but would also like to return to Tonga in the future to his work in the community.
He particularly enjoyed speaking to high school students and helping them see nursing as a viable career option, even for boys.
“They came up and started asking me questions afterwards which is good.
“I’d love to work in a hospital back in Tonga or be involved at the nursing school there.”
Unitec marketing and communications executive director Jeanette Paine is pleased with how the campaign has progressed.
“What people are responding to so positively is the authenticity of having real students tell their own stories about how studying at Unitec is changing their lives.”
That’s certainly the case for Mr Takau.
“Nursing has its own challenges but it’s a good job and it helps your family too.”
Fairfax NZ News