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Pacific nurses scholarships awarded

Pacific nurses
scholarships awarded - Catherine Latailakepa and Tyla
Tariau, Tony Ryall

Pacific nurses scholarships awarded

31 May 2013

The first recipients of the Medibank Community Fund scholarships for Pacific nurses have been recognised at Parliament at a Pasifika Medical Association event to honour and celebrate the contribution of the association’s development of the Pacific health workforce, hosted by National List MP Alfred Ngaro.

Catherine Latailakepa and Tyla Tariau, both aged 20 from Auckland, each received scholarships covering their course fees, travel costs to and from university lectures and a 15-week work placement, worth a joint $30,000 per annum for three years. Both students started their nursing degrees this year at Auckland University.

During the work placements segment of their training, they will observe work undertaken by registered nurses at Medibank Health Solutions, including at Healthline – which is provided by Medibank for the Ministry of Health.

Catherine and Tyla were inspired to become nurses by seeing the impact of illness on their own family members. Catherine says she wants to be ‘hands on’ in primary health care, helping to raise awareness of health issues and prevent illness. She was thrilled to hear she was one of the two recipients of this scholarship. “Without this, I don't know how I would pay for my nursing degree,” she says.

Tyla has wanted to be a nurse ever since her grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. “I have learnt that some of the major health issues affecting our Pacific people are cardiovascular diseases, smoking and diabetes. I have been surrounded with family members who have had one of these illnesses. As a Pacific nurse I would want to improve the health outcomes for our people.”

The Medibank Community Fund was established by Medibank Health Solutions in 2010 to support community initiatives with a focus on improving health. The Medibank Community Fund, and the Pasifika Medical Association have partnered to develop the criteria for scholarship selection. Medibank Health Solutions General Manager New Zealand, Andrea Pettett, says the two student scholarships are an important investment in community health.

“Currently Pacific nurses are only three percent of the nursing workforce in New Zealand although Pacific people make up seven percent of our population. Sponsoring these first two scholarships demonstrates Medibank’s commitment to increasing numbers of Pacific nurses.”

The scholarships are administered by the Pasifika Medical Association a lead organisation in workforce development for the health sector. Its programmes span both the secondary and tertiary education sectors and across other health professional organisations in New Zealand and the Pacific region.


Note to Editors. Medibank is a leading Australasian health company, which provides more than 500,000 face-to-face consultations and answers more than 1.8 million health advice, coaching and chronic disease management calls per annum. In New Zealand, Medibank Health Solutions operates Healthline for the Ministry of Health, other telephone health services, including a Mental Health Line for a number of District Health Boards, is a national lead provider of ACC Homecare services, and manages the Patient Access Centre for Midlands Health Network

The Medibank Community Fund has been established to support programmes that enable and encourage people to live longer and in good health and includes scholarships for Pacific nursing and telenursing for existing Maori nurses.

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