Tamatea High School were proud to be able to host Dr Lance O’Sullivan in their school this week. Lance was in Hawke’s Bay to present at the Beyond Me Inspiration Conference that was organised by Ironmāori creator, Heather Skipworth.
Dr O’Sullivan was named New Zealander of the Year in 2014 for his contribution to Māori health in Northland. He has been acknowledged as an emerging leader by the Sir Peter Blake Trust. The Readers Digest named him the second-most-trusted New Zealander behind Victoria Cross recipient, Willie Apiata.
Needless to say, the staff and students of Tamatea High School all considered themselves very lucky to be able to listen to Lance’s life story. He told the assembly that he got into trouble at school and was excluded from two schools. His father was an alcoholic and absent dad, plus O’Sullivan said, he was a Māori boy lacking identity. When he finally got a break at Hato Petera College in Auckland, he was affirmed as a Māori boy, learned to be proud of his culture and started to excell at school.
Graduating as a doctor from Auckland University wasn’t easy for O’Sullivan who had to balance the responsibilities of studying and being a father of a young family. Overcoming self-doubt enabled him to succeed and now he is making a huge contribution to those in New Zealand who need extra health support.
Steele Te Kahu, a year 13 student at Tamatea High said “He was really inspirational. I don’t want to be a doctor, but I’d like to be like him, making a difference in people’s lives.”