Topic: Health

Tributes flow for NZ first Māori Nurse, Putiputi O’Brien

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Hundreds gathered at Ruaihona Marae in the Bay of Plenty to farewell Putiputi O'Brien who died this week at 93 years of age. Her commitment to Māori health and Māori nurses led her to become the patron of the National Council of Māori Nurses.

A woman who devoted her life to others.

A trait no doubt taught by her parents Eruera and Pareake Manuera.

"She's from a generation that knew how to care for people, very easy going but her love was for her people," says Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell

Putiputi lived up to her name, without realising she has pollinated many lives, Māori nurses to be precise.  She was a pioneer in Māori health and education.

According to Joe Harawira, "She was the first Māori nurse in NZ, her work was based on her people and you see what she achieved in her endeavours around the country."

Her work earned her a Queen's Service Order in 1987 for her work in a range of community and welfare organisations.

Te Ururoa Flavell said many from Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Mataatua would mourn for her.  She stands as an example of how to care for people.

Putiputi O'Brien is survived by her three children and many grand-children and great grand-child.  She will be taken to her final resting place close to her parents at Kōkōhinau Marae cemetery in Te Teko.

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