Waitangi A Popular Location For Annual National Nursing Students Hui

Waitangi proved a popular location for the annual national Maori student nurses hui this week with organisers and regular attendees citing it one of the largest they can remember.

North Tec bachelor of nursing lecturer Christine Sapwell believes this was a particularly large hui because of the attraction of coming north to Waitangi where the relationship between Maori and Pakeha began.

“Northland always makes a strong presence at previous hui so I think this year a lot of people were curious to see how we fared. Hopefully (the attraction was also) experiencing some of our legendary hospitality too.”

The four-day Hui a Tau Mo Nga Tauira Neehi Maori 2014 attracted 190 participants, made up of nursing students, registered nurses, educators, and those thinking of starting a nursing career, as well as key people such as president of Te Kaunihera Neehi Maori o Aotearoa Hemaima Hughes from Nelson.

Guest speakers comprised an impressive and inspirational line-up, including associate minister of health Tariana Turia, who, according to Northland DHB director of nursing and midwifery Margareth Broodkoorn, held the audience captive as she talked about Rangatiratanga leadership – this year’s theme.

“The speakers have been fabulous and obviously having Tariana was a highlight. Everyone was enthralled and spellbound. She spoke about leadership and that leadership is in every one of us.”

Ms Broodkoorn, also the TeTai Tokerau chair of the national council of Maori nurses and a guest speaker at the event, says the main aim of the hui, which ended Friday, was about strengthening Maori presence in the nursing sector and supporting Maori students.
“We need to grow our Maori nursing workforce. Nationally Maori make up seven per cent of the nursing work force and 15 per cent of the population. That’s why these hui are so important – it’s about creating great Maori nurses of the future.”

The hui enables nurturing in an environment that strengthens Maori identity by embracing the tikanga and values that are unique to Maori. While the non-compulsory hui is open to nursing students across the year groups, it is not uncommon for attendees to return year after year with some, such as third-year North Tec nursing student and student representative of the hui organising committee Olivia Nutley, planning to return next year as a new graduate.

“This is my second hui and we started planning for it immediately after last year’s. I was able to be a voice for the students and we made quite a few changes to the programme so it was more student-friendly. It’s been great and we’ve had really good feedback. It’s paid off.”

The first national hui for Maori nursing students was held in 1986. Since then the hui has continued to be supported and led by Te Kaunihera o Nga Neehi Maori o Aotearoa/National Council of Maori Nurses.

“They need more Maori in the health profession, especially with the percentage of Maori in Northland"

North Tec mother and daughter nursing students Moana Tipene-Mahanga and Aniwaniwa Mahanga, 21, attended the Hui a Tau Mo Nga Tauira Neehi Maori 2014 together. This was Aniwaniwa’s third and her mother’s first.

“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse but I had my family first,” says Moana who has ten children.

She was 21 when she had her first baby and her youngest is now seven.

Aniwaniwa – her third eldest – wasn’t sure what career path she wanted to take but always knew she wanted to give back to the people so signed up for the three-year nursing course and has never looked back.

“I like that I can help people to help themselves. I’m not fazed by the gory stuff – no way – I like it.”

Moana says they have encouraged and supported each other throughout their course.

“They need more Maori in the health profession, especially with the percentage of Maori in Northland and the associated diseases. Also many Maori (patients) shy away (from the traditional Pakeha system).”

Both nursing students, who would ultimately like to end up working in the community, think it is pretty special training and attending the hui together and had enjoyed the learning and networking of the four-day event.

“(The hui) brings Maori nursing students together who all have the same passion to become a nurse,” says Aniwaniwa. “I’ve really enjoyed meeting other Maori nursing students, networking with them, forming relationships and hearing their journey of how they got to where they are now. Listening to the speakers who have walked the journey already, it’s inspiring to become what they’ve become and even more.

“And I like that it’s up home. There’s a large amount of people here from all over New Zealand. I’m proud that they came here to see what we have to offer and to Waitangi where it all began.

“They think it’s beautiful and having the beach just across the road is fantastic.”

Associate minister of health Tariana Turia, centre, was a popular guest speaker at the hui.

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