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Scholarship programme supports Maori mental health

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Scholarship programme supports Maori mental health

A desire to contribute to Maori mental health has seen Sharran Smith (Ngati Rauru) awarded the inaugural Te Manawaroatanga Te Rau Puawai scholarship at a ceremony in Palmerston North.

The scholarship marks the beginning of the partnership between Te Rau Puawai Workforce 100, the Maori mental health Scholarship Programme at Massey University, and the Manawatu Primary Health Organisation.

The programme sees recipients from partner organisations complete Massey qualifications in a health-related discipline in order to increase the professionalism of the Maori mental health workforce.

Mrs Smith (pictured right) works as an executive assistant at the PHO, but wants to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist.

“I saw the information about the scholarship go across my desk and thought that would be a great opportunity for someone,” Mrs Smith says. “Working in the area of Maori mental health is something I’ve always wanted to do and now I have that opportunity.

Mrs Smith will study psychology at Massey and hopes to one day become a clinical psychologist.

Te Rau Puawai co-ordinator Monica Koia says the aim of the scholarship is to get more Maori qualified so they have access to a range of mental health careers. The partnership enables Maori mental health providers to gain qualifications more relevant to their area, she says.

Manawatu Primary Health Organisation manager Nicky Hart says Te Manawaroatanga – which means “the stout-heartedness” – is an important step for the organisation.

“Maori are over-represented in mental health statistics and this partnership is an opportunity for our people to further their expertise in the field,” she says.

Te Rau Puawai has seen almost 200 students graduate in the past 10 years. The scholarship provides recipients with fees and some course-related costs, a mentor, assistance with study planning and skills and access to Maori community and student networks.

ends

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