'We can be what we want to be' - programme helps Auckland Pacific Island students excel at science

A programme to boost low numbers of Pacific Islands students in science is producing startling results

Good teaching, mentoring and hard work is helping 300 students thrive. Source: 1 NEWS

There are 300 students in the Health Science Academy which runs in six high schools, mostly in South Auckland

It was set up by Counties Manukau Health in a bid to get more Pacific health workers into the community.

Tangaroa College is seeing 94 per cent pass rates for its level three students and for the first time Waitakere College has Pasifika students taking level three chemistry and physics.

Student Laura Green says she wouldn’t be taking sciences if it wasn’t for the academy in her school.

“No one in this class without support from our teachers would think that we could be successful like in a health career, and I think that with that extra push from our teachers we can believe we can be what we want to be."

Health Science Academy director Nadeen Papali’i says the students are mentored and closely monitored.

"We shouldn’t have any excuse as to why we can’t achieve, we shouldn’t let our background or ethnicity what people say or the stereotype be the reason why we can’t achieve," she says.