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Fatherly Inspiration

Dr Tina Lavulo recognises discipline and hard work are essential to establishing a successful career. And she doesn’t have to look far to find her inspiration.    

“It’s my Dad … Paul Lavulo,” says the newly-appointed GP at The Fono.

“He has always been a hard worker. The only problem is that he doesn’t like going to the doctors because he says he’s always busy. I have to keep an eye on him and remind him of the need to have regular check-ups. Even though he’s retired, Dad’s still passionate about helping the Tongan and Pacific communities. He can’t sit still.”

Born in the New South Wales town of Armidale, where her father was studying business (Masters in Economics), Tina and her family moved to Tonga where she was raised until the age of 13 to care for her father’s elderly parents.

The family then came to live on Auckland’s North Shore, where Tina attended Carmel College before going on to study a Bachelor Health Science, before going on to a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) at the University of Auckland, graduating in 2010.

She spent four years working in hospitals, including Rotorua and Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland, while deciding where in health she wanted to work, before deciding on General Practice. 

“I liked the thought of working one-on-one with patients, building a relationship with them and getting to know how we can work together for the benefit of their overall health. I also liked chatting. I heard about The Fono through Dr Malia Funaki, who had started a Pacific GP programme and said I should join the team.”

Tina admits there are significant challenges to improve the health of Pacific people. Nevertheless, she detects a growing awareness and acknowledgement of the need to strive towards healthier lifestyles.

“Dad’s a classic example. He’s smart, educated, and has worked in health organisations, but his strong work-ethic, devotion to business and reluctance to go to the doctors has affected his health,” she says.

“It’s harder to change that generation now because so many of their habits are ingrained. But it’s also great to see a growing awareness about health issues, such as diabetes, strokes and heart disease, among the younger ones.”      

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Dr Tina Lavulo

Works across two Fono clinics
Blockhouse Bay
on Wednesday & Thursday
Henderson on Tuesday & Friday

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Dr Tina Lavulo

Fono West

Fono West Central