Among the 200 graduates receiving degrees from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, nineteen were beneficiaries of a redeveloped Māori nursing degree, designed to help bring more Māori nurses into the workforce.
Maddie Mason is one of the nineteen graduates with a Bachelor of Health Science in Māori Nursing.
“I'm really astounded as to where I am today. I think I'm really blessed for being at Awanuiārangi and having that full support. If it wasn't for these amazing lecturers, amazing colleagues and class mates I think I wouldn't be where I am today”.
The Director of Nursing and Health Science at Te Whare Wānanga, Deborah Rowe says only seven percent of nurses in the workforce are Māori.
She says this output of graduates will go some way to addressing this disparity.
Haturini McGavery, also of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, says, “They will go into the Māori and mainstream communities and mainstream healthcare. There's a large number of Māori with health problems, a large number are in hospital but there's only a small percentage of Māori nurses”.
Minister of Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta says, “The best thing is that these students will be taking their knowledge to the workforce and to hospitals which is very good for Māori”.
Graduate Rangiwhanake Sonja says she decided to pursue a career in nursing due to her own personal experiences with her family.
“Looking at my whānau, who had diabetes and most of them passed away- so that's kind of why I really wanted to come into nursing and do something about it”.
Around 3,000 students at Te Whare Wānanga will graduate this year.