A new initiative to support Māori nurses across Waitaha is gaining momentum thanks to the efforts of Hayley Lotter (Muaūpoko), Nurse Educator at Pegasus Health. Nurses interested in being part of the tapuhi Māori rōpū met at Pegasus in late April to agree on a kaupapa for the group.
“The kaupapa is all about whakawhanaungatanga. To get to know who else is out there and to be there as a support and resource for each other,” Hayley said.
The number of Māori nurses working within the system is disproportionately lower than within the population. This is particularly true in primary heath. Māori nurses from across the health sector attended the hui, including nurses from Te Whatu Ora, Corrections, Ara, primary healthcare providers and non-government organisations (NGOs).
“To make nursing an attractive and safe space for Māori it needs to be culturally safe, it needs to be prioritised and it needs to be facilitated without barrier,” Hayley said.
The atmosphere within the group was one of excitement and momentum. By creating this peer group, Hayley believes that Māori nurses can take the shared mātauranga (knowledge) and whakaaweawetia (influence) back to their mahi and help facilitate change to make things better for Māori whānau.
“With the changes to the health system, Te Tiriti o Waitangi needs to be foundational and that instead of ‘working towards’ equity we should prioritise equity in full measure,” Hayley said.