PMA Scholarships 2023 Recipient, Latu 'Akau'ola: Dr Leopino Foliaki University of Auckland Scholarship
Updates / Community, 10 Jan 24
Latu 'Akau'ola proudly represents the Kingdom of Tonga with familial ties to the villages of Kanokupolu, Folaha, Makave, and Vava’u. Ms ‘Akau’ola was awarded the Dr Leopino Foliaki University of Auckland Scholarship 2023 by the Pasifika Medical Association (PMA). Ms 'Akau'ola is in her final year of medicine and she shares her journey, aspirations, and deep-rooted motivations.

Family, a cornerstone of Pasifika culture, plays a pivotal role in Ms 'Akau'ola's life choices. Her grandmother, burdened with multiple comorbidities like hypertension and diabetes, became a catalyst for her journey into medicine.  

 "I always felt helpless when things like this happened to people who I loved, and I had a passion for helping people and serving others," she shares.  

Encouraged by a health-conscious upbringing, Ms 'Akau'ola embarked on a path to become a doctor, aspiring to make a difference in the lives of her family and the wider Pasifika community. 

Upon receiving the PMA scholarship, she expresses overwhelming gratitude, recognizing the competition among outstanding applicants.  

"These funds will be immensely useful for my elective this year, which I hope to undertake in the Pacific Islands," she remarks, acknowledging the pivotal role the scholarship will play in her educational journey. 

Her 'why,' a source of motivation, stems from a desire to care for her family both medically and financially. Despite facing moments of doubt and challenges, Ms 'Akau'ola attributes her resilience to the support of family and friends, emphasizing the central role of faith in carrying her through her journey. 

In envisioning the future of Pasifika health, Ms 'Akau'ola dreams of resolving health inequities and fostering a health-conscious community. She hopes for accessible, affordable, and equitable healthcare, particularly for children. Expressing concern about childhood obesity, she expresses a specific interest in paediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology (O&G).  

Ms 'Akau'ola emphasizes the transformative impact that focusing on children can have on the future.  

"The children are our future. If I can make an impact on them, I hope this will have a lasting effect on generations to come."