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Turia: Aniva Whitireia Pacific Nursing Leaders Fellowship

Hon Tariana Turia
Associate Minister for Health

Tuesday 17 Dec 2013 SPEECH

Aniva Whitireia Pacific Nursing Leaders Fellowship Programme - Graduation Ceremony
Auckland
(Check against delivery)

I would like to acknowledge all the dignitaries from your communities tonight. I would also like to mihi to Ben Makisi and to my friend Arthur Anae and to Carmel Sepuloni. To the Director of Health from Fiji, Hilda Fa’asalele and to Cathy O’Malley. Also to the wonderful band.
Thank you to Fuimaono Karl for your warm welcome tonight. I have to say, I have always liked your style. I am not really known for my style. Style is what tonight is all about.
And I’m not just talking about Geraldine Clifford-Lidstone’s amazing collection of designer shoes – as fabulous as they are.
I’m talking about Pasifika style – the pride of Pacific values, communities and cultures whether it be from Samoa, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Fiji, Tokelau, Tuvalu – or what I’ve heard described as the combo culture – those who whakapapa to more than one ancestry. We know that culture counts and as Ben’s waiata reminds us, the place for all of us is to be true to our people and be the change that we can be.
I am delighted to be here tonight, to congratulate the graduates of the Aniva Nursing Programme 2013.

I want to firstly acknowledge another unique combination – and that’s the collaboration that this project represents between Pacific Perspectives Limited and Whitireia Polytechnic with the support of investment from the Ministry of Health. The Government recognises this programme as a distinctive component of Pacific health workforce development – which in turn benefits the nation.

The Post-Graduate Certificate in Specialist Care provides senior Pacific nurses from across New Zealand with access to current evidence about Pacific health issues. The programme brings together both practical experience with a rich range of leadership development opportunities.

Most important of all as graduates of this unique programme, you have thrived in the sacred space that has been created for Pacific nurses to learn together. You have experienced the thrill of advancing your learning through Pasifika eyes. You have worked together, alongside your brothers and sisters from Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa to establish special relationships and a life-enduring framework for how best to achieve wellbeing.

That’s what we call Pacific style. We could also call this cultural competency. That sense of utter confidence, of feeling at one with your world. As tangata whenua, we might refer to a sense of style as being in keeping with our tikanga and kaupapa. My nephew describes tikanga as literally doing what is right, at the right time and in the right way.

And really, that is the significant point of difference between this programme and others. For this course encourages Pasifika nurses the time and space required. It is taught by some of the most experienced and senior Pacific nurses and it is done in the context of Pacific health needs.

The learning you have acquired throughout this programme, builds on your own cultural competence and strengthens your confidence to work in your communities to improve health results. It has given you a solid grounding from which to demonstrate the difference you make. In many ways this is a huge benefit for all your non-Pasifika colleagues, who we hope will feel inspired to appreciate the unique strength you offer in the broader health network.

I want to especially acknowledge all of the extended family members that have joined with us tonight, and the support that they have provided to the Aniva nurses right through the programme.

I understand that as part of your training you are required to attend six residential, overnight modules which inevitably means new arrangements need to be made to take care of the children and other family members while busy parents are away.

This then, is truly a whanau effort – a qualification which is the result of a collective effort.

The completion of this programme brings a total of fifty Pacific nurse graduates. This is fifty more Pacific nurses participating in post-graduate studies and on a pathway to building a sustainable Pacific health workforce. That’s a pretty exciting way to end this year – your Christmas gift to the nation.

But we’re not just talking quantity here - we’re proudly putting it out there too, that this is about quality – Pacific Proud Quality.

I understand that there was an evaluation of the programme undertaken this year and that the feedback was very positive. As a result, some amendments to the programme were recommended which included engaging with the Pacific Professional Nursing Associations and with DHB’s.

Ensuring good career pathways for Aniva nurse graduates is very important so that nurses who complete this course can get the chance to work with their own communities.

There’s another reason why I’m so proud of what you’ve done here with the Aniva Whitireia Pacific leadership programme.

A recent Health Workforce New Zealand report to the Health Select Committee reported that the average age of nurses is fifty and that many are expected to leave nursing when the economy moves out of recession.

Yet we also know that the population is browning up. The ethnic mosaic of New Zealand’s population is changing, with the Maori, Pasifika and Asian ethnic groups making up a growing proportion of the population.

So there is every opportunity and every reason for the graduates of this programme to be a vital part of our future health workforce.

I say vital deliberately.

According to the thesaurus there are a huge range of meanings for vital – essential, indispensable, compelling, crucial, requisite, paramount and needed – and so it goes on. It’s true.

Having Pasifika nurses equipped to respond to the wide range of needs of all our peoples, being able to understand their priorities and communicate effectively, respectfully and appropriately is key to being able to secure long term gains in health and wellbeing.

It is, therefore, really important that we all do what we can to encourage young Pasifika nurses to participate in programmes such as this to gain from the cultural knowledge and practise that underpins this programme.

We want to be really sure that Pasifika Pride grows in every aspect of our communities. And this is where I want to leave the last challenge with us all gathered here tonight.

Recruitment is currently underway for another cohort to start in 2014. Over the summer break, you will have plenty of opportunity over Christmas dinner or New Year barbeques to spread the word about the difference this programme has made. It is our great wish that we can build a strong network of Pacific nurses to take us into the future.

My final word then is to congratulate all of the students of the Aniva Pacific Nursing Fellowship 2013 who are today graduating with a Certificate in Post-Graduate Specialist Care.

We congratulate you all on this very special day – we are so proud of your achievements and we are so excited about the promise and the potential you all offer us for a Pacific Proud Future.

ENDS

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