Leilani Pereira graduates with MB ChB in medicine


Education is key to a successful future.

This was the notion behind the sacrifices made by Ti’a David and Tuila Pereira for their daughter, Leilani Helen Leta Pereira.

Born and raised in Samoa, the Pereira family moved to New Zealand to provide support for Leilani who successfully completed her MB ChB in medicine with a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery from the University of Otago in New Zealand. 

A graduate of Robert Louis Stevenson College, Leilani is 25. 

In an interview with Radio Polynesia, Leilani said her academic journey was challenging but perseverance pays off. 

“I’m incredibly grateful to God for all He has done for me. My family and friends have also been extremely supportive throughout my time in Dunedin. 

“I wouldn’t have been able to complete this degree without their constant love, support, and prayers.” 

Leilani dedicated this lifetime achievement to her parents and siblings. 

“I would also like to acknowledge the support from my grandparents on my dad’s side Afoa Ray Pereira and Leta Pereira and on my mum’s side Asi Tuiataga Semisi Blakelock and Helen Blakelock. 

“I completed primary and secondary school at RLSS Graduating Class of 2013 and then moved on to the NUS Foundation Year programme. I was inspired to study in Dunedin where my dad and his sisters studied and graduated from the University of Otago,” she told Radio Polynesia. 

“I grew up in Samoa and witnessed firsthand the health inequities amongst our people. “I became determined to make a difference for our community. 

“Thus, upon leaving for Dunedin, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I spent a year in the Otago Foundation programme before starting Health Science at Otago University. “It wasn’t an easy start to medical school, but God has always been by my side and brought me to the finish line.” 

She will be working in Auckland City Hospital to reduce health disparities, especially amongst the Pasifika people. 

“I look forward to working in Samoa in the future once I have gained more experience here in NZ.” 

Her aunt and strong supporter Tanuvasa Caroline Pereira congratulated her niece on this achievement and reminded her the sky is the limit.