National | Hauora

More Māori nurses a priority - new associate health minister

Nurses from around the country have gathered online and onsite in the Northland town of Rawene. They're celebrating International Nurses Day but also looking at improving their work conditions in the future.

Hauora Hokianga and Auckland University have developed a Māori health workforce programme, Takapau Wananga, which is an intern program where medical, nursing, and midwifery/allied health students are exposed to working with whānau with mental health issues, experiencing inequities of access to health services and care in an extremely remote rural environment.

“We will demonstrate the importance of this workforce programme and tauira having exposure to rural health, Maori health, and a population with significant equity," Hauora Hokianga chief executive Margaret Broodkoorn says.

The government's continued focus on increasing the health workforce in rural communities was recognised today as 12 medical, nursing, and midwifery students completing placements were acknowledged by Associate Health Minister Willow-Jean Prime at the event at Rāwene in the Far North.

Associate Health Minister Willow-Jean Prime says more Māori nurses are a priority.

”I want to increase the number of people who seek to follow the path of nursing and support them to do this type of work because I know that in their hearts is the well-being of their iwi, and therefore that is one of my main interests.”

Cheryl Turner is a Māori nurse in the Hokianga and says her motivation is her iwi,

“For me, it's a privilege to be working for my family, for my people, and for my iwi of Hokianga."