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‘Bingo!’ DML wins Māori Language Week award

September 12, 2008
Media Statement
For Immediate Release

‘Bingo!’ DML wins Māori Language Week award

Playing Māori ‘Bingo’ during Māori Language Week was just one way Auckland-based Diagnostic Medlab community laboratory staff headed off stiff competition to win the business category of the 2008 Māori Language Week Awards announced in Wellington tonight.

The win was Diagnostic Medlab ’s fourth in a row. They were winners in the 2007, 2006 and 2005 Māori Language Week awards and came runner-up in 2004.

“We are very excited by the win which was due to a lot of hard work by our Māori Language Week team and the wholehearted participation of our staff,”comments Diagnostic Medlab’s human resources manager, Naomi Johnson.

Diagnostic Medlab celebrates Māori Language Week as part of an innovative long-term staff education programme called Hikoi Tahi (Journeying Together in Harmony) which began in 2001.

Hikoi Tahi also has a serious side and it has, for example, increased awareness among Diagnostic Medlab staff of the sacred (tapu) nature of bodily specimens to Māori.

“Once our staff became more aware of Māori culture it raised everyone’s awareness of cultural needs. Māori aren’t the only people who want their specimens treated with integrity, and we understand those needs.”she adds.

On the fun side, DML staff participated in a wide range of cultural activities including: a Māori Bingo game; an Amazing Race with challenges drawing on relevant vocabulary and tikanga Māori, and such feats as shelling and eating a raw mussel; Māori music on hold; Māori signage including department names in Te Reo; a Te Reo-based crossword puzzle; a hangi lunch, a kete weaving class and a well-received kapa haka performance by local college students.

“Everyone became so involved they didn’t want the week to end. Although Māori Language Week has become a highlight of the year, Māori language and culture has now become part of our everyday life at DML,” says Ms Johnson.

Additional background
Community laboratories play an important role in New Zealand primary health care, providing the medical analysis of fluid and tissue samples that allow GPs to diagnose specific conditions and prescribe the correct treatment with the aim of keeping people out of hospitals.

Diagnostic Medlab provides community laboratory services to the greater Auckland region. It employs 750 skilled staff including 36 highly trained pathologists. Within the workforce 42 nationalities are represented.

Over 300 staff work in the community based Collection Services area collecting specimens from the public with another 400 staff based at Diagnostic Medlab’s Ellerslie laboratory where they carry out more than 35,000 tests for around 10,000 Aucklanders every day. The laboratory is one of the biggest and most modern of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.


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