“Wait, Can I ask what do pharmacists do?” Māori and Pacific youth perspectives of pharmacy as a career pathway


  • Jessie Lagaluga Hutchings University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8255-2479
  • Sharnee Breingan University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Joanna Hikaka University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Terryann Clark University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Sonia Fonua University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Trudi Aspden University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand




Adolescent, Career, Indigenous, Pacific people, Pharmacy, Recruitment


Background: Indigenous Māori and Pacific Peoples are under-represented in the pharmacy workforce, despite the identified need for increased representation in healthcare to achieve equitable outcomes in Aotearoa. This study explored the awareness, perspectives, and views of Māori and Pacific youth about pharmacy as a study pathway and career.

Methods: The study employed a mixed-method exploratory approach, combining a self-administered questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to investigate the views of Māori and Pacific youth aged 13-15 on pharmacy as a career path. Descriptive statistics were generated, and a thematic analysis was conducted.

Results: The sample comprised 13 Māori and 12 Pacific participants. The questionnaires showed a lack of understanding of the pharmacy professions, while the interviews revealed that participants’ career options were heavily influenced by their families, their exposure, their level of exposure and knowledge of the profession, and the financial and social implications of pursuing a particular career.

Conclusion: Pharmacy is an invisible career to Māori and Pacific youth. Findings suggest that tailoring pharmacy promotion to Indigenous and Pacific communities would improve awareness and representation.

Author Biographies

Jessie Lagaluga Hutchings, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Sharnee Breingan, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Joanna Hikaka, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Terryann Clark, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

School of Nursing, Faculty of Medical Health Sciences

Sonia Fonua, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Faculty of Science, Environment

Trudi Aspden, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences


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How to Cite

Hutchings, J. L., Breingan, S., Hikaka, J., Clark, T., Fonua, S., & Aspden, T. (2023). “Wait, Can I ask what do pharmacists do?” Māori and Pacific youth perspectives of pharmacy as a career pathway . Pharmacy Education, 23(1), p. 339–353. https://doi.org/10.46542/pe.2023.231.339353



Research Article