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Former Nurse And Early Childhood Teacher To Be Honoured

Former nurse Dr Janice Wenn and early childhood teacher Braidie Heberley will receive special awards at the UCOL Wairarapa Graduation ceremony on 26 March.

Dr Janice Wenn will receive UCOL’s highest honorary award, the Honorary Fellow Award, for her service to Māori health over a career that spanned more than six decades.

Dr Wenn started her career as a nurse in the 1950s and went on to help develop national strategies to address Māori health issues and improve healthcare access. Dr Wenn was instrumental in establishing Whaiora Whanui in 1998, after the people of Papawai Marae decided to create a health service that would reduce health inequities and empower whānau.

UCOL Early Childhood Education Graduate Braidie Heberley will receive the Young Alumni Award, which recognises significant accomplishments of UCOL alumni aged 35 or under.

Heberley graduated from UCOL with a National Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care in 2009 and went on to complete a teaching degree through Te Tari Puna oro o Aotearoa (now known as Te Rito Maioha).

Now the Lead Educator at Ko Te Aroha Children's Centre, Heberley is spearheading a national pilot programme focused on supporting children who have been through or are going through trauma. Heberley also mentors Early Childhood Education students at UCOL and supports Makoura students transitioning into the workforce.

UCOL Council Chair Ben Vanderkolk says both recipients have had an important impact on the Wairarapa community.

“Janice’s long career in health services has seen her touch so many lives. Her contribution to Māori health and healthcare in the Wairarapa has left a lasting impression.”

“It’s great to see Braidie rise to the position of Lead Educator at Ko Te Aroha Children's Centre after doing work experience there as a UCOL student. Many of our students build connections through placements and internships, and it is awesome to see this kind of success. We appreciate she is passing on her knowledge and mentoring the next generation of early childhood teachers to come out of UCOL.”

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