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Whitireia Community Polytechnic Nursing Graduation

Hon Tariana Turia
Friday, 20 April 2001 Speech Notes

Whitireia Community Polytechnic Nursing Graduation, Takapuahia Marae

Tena koutou Ngati Toa. Tena koutou e awhi, e tautoko nei i enei kua eke ki tetahi o nga traumata i whaiahia e ratau. Tena tatau katoa.

Thank you for inviting me to be part of a very important event in your lives - your graduation ceremony.

It is an important event because it provides your whanau and friends with the opportunity to celebrate your success.

It is truly a moment when all of you can say
“ehara taku toa i te toa taki tahi, engari he toa taki tini”

Loosely translated one is saying
“my achievements are not solely as a result of what I have done, but is the result of what we have done”.

It also gives you the opportunity to celebrate with your colleagues and peers your respective triumphs and publicly close a significant chapter in your lives.

For those who choose, it may be the public beginning for another chapter in your lives.

Successful completion of the nursing programme requires commitment, and as I look around, it is clear that all of you will have had the support of your whanau. And in supporting you, your whanau would have made a similar commitment.

It is for those reasons that I too want to celebrate your achievements and convey to you my sincere congratulations for all the hard work that you will have done in order to graduate.

I am pleased that you have all graduated and I know you will all be making substantial contributions to providing health care services to your communities and to the families, whanau and aiga of others.

Nurses are significant players in the health and disability sector.

They make up 71.2 percent of New Zealand’s health and disability workforce and the total cost of their annual salaries is estimated as $1 billion.

What is more important however is that in a recent poll, nurses topped the list of professions most respected by the public.

You are more than twice as popular as the least respected group - politicians.

I think I need to bask in your reflected glory as I once pursued a career in nursing.

The profile of nursing has changed considerably in the 1990s.

It is very encouraging to see new areas developing for nurses outside of hospital walls, for example in the large number of nurse led community services and initiatives.

These new roles show how flexible the nursing workforce can be, and as health services change to meet the new and different needs of their communities the mix of workforce skills may also need to change.

Increasingly however the need for skilled forensic nurses is being recognised.

While all areas of nursing are important I consider the forensic area to be one of the most difficult and commend you all for choosing forensics as the area you wish to work.

It is an extremely challenging area.

The level of commitment required is immense and you will all continue to need the professional support of colleagues and management and the personal support of whanau.

A challenge for all of you are the professional expectations you will face in providing appropriate and culturally safe professional practice for increasingly diverse populations in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

As I have mentioned cultural safety I want to put a challenge before you. I know that at times we are asked for a "cultural perspective" or "opinion".

We should perhaps refrain from asking for a cultural perspective or opinion, as it appears that only minority groups are asked that question.

The more appropriate question could be:

"What is the cultural basis for my professional opinion" (Repeat).

Only then perhaps might we appreciate the diversity of opinions and recognise all "clinical" decisions have a cultural basis, they are not neutral.

Once again, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this event. I wish you and your whanau all the very best for a bright career and an exciting new future.

Na reira, huri noa i to tatau hui, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatau katoa.


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