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Dr John McLeod Scholarships presentation

Hon. Tariana Turia
17 September 2003 Speech Notes

Dr John McLeod Scholarships presentation

Presentation in Banquet Hall, Beehive, 4.30pm


It is my honour to be here today, to recognise the hard work that each of you have put into your chosen careers and the community, especially to your whanau, and tangata whenua generally.

All round the country, health is probably the number one development priority for whanau and hapu. We have been making huge progress in terms of getting our own health providers established, and delivering services tailored to the needs of our communities.

At the same time, our people have been falling further behind the rest of the country. I am sure we have found the right approach to health care – we have to keep up our efforts. This is the challenge you face.

The government has begun to engage seriously with tangata whenua on health issues. He Korowai Oranga, the Maori Health Strategy, is a ground-breaking approach to health, based on whanau ora.

The Mäori Health Scholarship programme is a practical way the government can help boost the numbers, and develop the skills, of Mäori health professionals.

This year 802 applications came in for Mäori Health Scholarships, which is 200 more than last year. Due to the high calibre of all those applications, 468 scholarships were awarded.

The panel who considered the applications comprised representatives from Te Kaunihera o Ngä Neehi (National collective of Mäori Nurses), Te Ohu Rata o Aotearoa (National collective of Mäori Doctors), Ngä Maia o Aotearoa me te Waipounamu (National Collective of Mäori Midwives) and the Ministry of Health.

Of all the scholarships awarded this year, the Dr John McLeod is the most prestigious. It is important that we remember the person these scholarships honour.

Dr John McLeod, of Ngä Puhi descent, had a distinguished career both nationally and internationally. His contribution to improving the health status of our people, and his work in public health, was second to none. His outstanding medical research and management career ended with his premature death in 1994 (in a car accident).

The McLeod Scholarship recognises outstanding individuals and excellent achievement. Many people see the recipients of such a prestigious scholarship as future leaders, as authorities in their chosen field, and advocates for the people. Therefore, the honour of receiving this scholarship bears great expectation.

Dr John McLeod set an outstanding example for the Mäori Health workforce. You are a part of the next generation, who needs to strive to surpass the precedent he set, for commitment and contribution to improving Mäori Health status.

Students do not apply for these scholarships. They are awarded to students who excel academically, while maintaining strong links with whänau, häpu, iwi and the wider community.

I want to thank the whanau members who have come today to tautoko your young leaders. Your presence has great significance.

You demonstrate that these young people belong to whanau, hapu and wider communities. By your presence, we know that you appreciate the value of whanau support, and we are reassured that these young people have been brought up to understand their obligations to others.

A sense of belonging to a collective, and being responsible for others, is the essence of whanau ora.

Today, three outstanding students who are pursuing post-graduate studies in Mäori Health will each receive this distinguished award, and with it, an expectation of success.

If I may take a moment to recognise each of you individually: Lorraine Brooking – of Ngäti Porou, Ngäriki ki Mangatü descent, is completing her PhD at Otago University. Lorraine is in her 3rd year of Bachelor of Medicine (MBChB) and 2nd Year of her PhD in Diabetes amongst Mäori.

Lorraine has received this scholarship before, and she remains an outstanding applicant who is actively contributing to improving Mäori Health. Lorraine is also active in community affairs, holding numerous voluntary roles.

Lincoln Nichols – of Ngäti Raukawa descent, is in his third year of Bachelor of Medicine (MBChB) at Otago University. Lincoln already has a Bachelor of Education, and a Diploma in Teaching & Bilingual Teaching. Lincoln has also received this scholarship in a previous year, but is another outstanding, all-round achiever academically, in sport, as a regional Rugby representative, and within Te Ao Mäori participating in Kapa Haka, Marae Health Clinics, and as a Te Reo Mäori Teacher.

Segina Te Ahu Ahu – of Ngä Puhi and Te Arawa descent, is in her final year of an LLB (Hons), BSocSc (Hons) and first year of a post-graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, for which study is by invitation only.

Segina’s notable academic achievements include membership of the Golden Keys Society (top 15%) of University. She is also an active volunteer in the Piako Community Whänau Trust and the Waikato Law Centre; and a member of Ngä Mätäwaka ki Te Arawa Kapa Haka.

As you continue your journey, you might take with you this pëpeha: “Haere e whai i te waewae o Uenuku, kia ora ai te tangata”, which means “Go, search for the footprints of Uenuku so that mankind may be nurtured”

Uenuku is said to have been a very wise person from whom one could learn the secrets of health, personal safety and welfare. Today is a celebration of your search for that knowledge that will empower you to become health professionals and role models for our people.

I congratulate all three of you and look forward to following your careers with anticipation and great interest.

Kia ora tatou katoa.


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