Mr Irving is involved in community initiatives in Ōpōtiki, including pop-up portable COVID clinics, training remote iwi in how to stabilise patients until help arrives, as well as establishing a charity Ngā Ringa Ngaio Whakaora, to support rural Māori into health careers.
He says that while the scholarship award recognises he puts in the hard mahi, “so do others”.
“None of these projects I’m involved in are me, they are all ‘we’. While I push forward for change, I am not alone, I have a lot of friends and colleagues in the fight with me.”
For example, the rise of mobile healthcare in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: “It’s really exciting to see mobile services become the norm now. We were pitching it during the first lockdown but it was too outside the box, but now it’s everywhere.”
Most of all, Mr Irving says the many roles he performs, and projects he undertakes, would not be possible without the support of his wife, who has suffered many hours alongside him, “for free”.