Scholarship leads to positive force in Māori health sector

Kaimana (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa) is currently completing her third-year nursing studies at Ara Institute of Canterbury in Ōtautahi Christchurch and says receiving a Pegasus Health Workforce Development Scholarship has made a massive difference to her life.

“I was a school drop-out at aged 16 and a young mother at 18,” says Kaimana. “I remember learning about the poor health statistics for Māori at school and thinking, ‘that’s me’. But here I am now, almost finished a Bachelor of Nursing and I want to be a positive role model in the Māori health sector.”

“I’ve been able to get myself into a debt free position and to put aside the money I will need to pay for my state finals at the end of this year,” says Kaimana.

“That’s made my study pathway so much easier and I know that if I ever want a job in community health, Pegasus will be there for me one hundred percent. Their ongoing communication and support has been invaluable.”

That support has been crucial for Kaimana, as she juggles fulltime study with family life – caring for her six-year-old son, who was born with a genetic condition that has left him with high health needs and developmental delays, plus being stepmother to her partner’s twelve- and five- year-old children.

“As much as it’s busy studying while running a household and looking after three young kids, they’re also my driver, my push to keep going,” says Kaimana.

Kaimana discovered her son would be born with high health needs when she was hapū and it was that discovery that motivated her to find out as much as she could about the health system.

“I started looking into the health sector to see what it would all mean for me as a parent and how I could best access help for my son. I became passionate about it and after two years of dealing with different district health boards and different areas of the health system, I realised it was the path I wanted to go down myself.

“I was always inspired by the nurses, who had such a big impact on our health journey. I was at my most vulnerable then and their support meant a huge amount to me as a parent.”

Kaimana also credits her family with helping her through the toughest times during her degree.

Cover image: Kaimana Gallop (right) receiving her scholarship award from Jane Huria, Pegasus Health Board member.

Read the full July newsletter here