March 22, 2017
Reunion highlights challenge for Maori nurses
Maori nurses who trained at MIT are gathering at the Manukau campus this weekend to look at how far they have come and where the profession is going for Maori.
Evelyn Hikuroa, the leader of MIT's Maori Faculty of Nursing and Health Studies, says the impetus for the reunion symposium, on the theme of Te hokinga mai ki te ukaipo – returning to one's beginnings… came from the graduates who form a tight group.
While the Manukau Institute of Technology started nursing courses more than 30 years ago, Ms Hikuroa says there were few Maori graduates in the early years, and the focus on Maori nursing only came in the past decade or so.
About 10 Maori nurses graduate each year, so there is an increased emphasis on recruiting Maori into health care careers.
"We just need to get out there face to face and be talking in secondary schools not just to careers advisors and to students themselves but to whanau. So that conversation we have is not just 'we want your tamaiti to study science and come into nursing or medicine or occupational health or whatever it is. We just need more Maori in the health workforce full stop,'" she says.
Evelyn Hikuroa says having more Maori in the health workforce will benefit everyone because of some of their cultural practices.
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