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Minister opens new Tairawhiti Health Learning Centre

Hon Jo Goodhew
Associate Minister of Health
16 November 2012 Media Statement

Minister opens new Tairawhiti Health Learning Centre

Associate Minister of Health Jo Goodhew today officially opened a new Tairawhiti District Health Board facility to enhance access to training and development opportunities.

The facility, which is called Ko Matakerepo – Tairawhiti Health Learning Centre, will focus on programmes for graduate health professionals and provides a dedicated space for training programmes.

“This facility provides an excellent space to develop new ideas, techniques, and ways of collaboration between health professionals across the district and wider,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“But more than that, the centre will improve Tairawhiti’s ability to attract and retain health professionals. Research shows that students who have positive experiences in rural environments are more likely to stay or return.”

The DHB has transformed an old staff cafeteria area into a stand-alone, secure venue for hosting developmental sessions including workshops, conferences and webcast links with international experts.

The centre will predominantly be used by participants in the Rural Immersion Training Programme.

“The health of people living in rural and isolated parts of the country is a priority for this Government. Not only does this programme require universities to work collaboratively with DHBs and health agencies, it ensures that areas with high rural populations can attract trainee students,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“We know that the population of Tairawhiti faces complex health problems including diabetes and obesity therefore it’s vital this region can recruit new graduates. Feedback from participants in this year’s programme is very positive, with many reluctant to leave, so this is welcome news.”


Ko Matakerepo

The name of the facility – Ko Matakerepo – refers to the tale of Tawhaki. While ascending the heavens in search for all knowledge needed by humankind Tawhaki came upon a blind woman, Matakerepo. In exchange for her help he laid his hands over her eyes and her sight was slowly restored. ‘Matakerepo’ therefore means ‘seeking enlightenment’.

Rural Immersion Training Programme

The Rural Immersion Training Programme (RITP) is a joint training initiative funded by Health Workforce New Zealand. It aims to encourage more final year students to undertake work placements in isolated areas, such as Gisborne.

The programme in Tairawhiti is run by the University of Otago in conjunction with the Eastern Institute of Technology, local health services providers Turanga Health and Ngāti Porou Hauora and community health professionals.

The RITP is also run in Whakatane through the University of Auckland.


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