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Equity in action: Applications now open for our 2024 Māori Health Leadership Scholarship

You only need to look at history to understand that the most effective way to enhance Māori health is by growing Māori leadership to drive change and make informed decisions for the betterment of Māori. Yet with nearly a quarter of Māori reporting unmet primary care needs over the past year, the latest NZ Health Survey still paints a picture of a health service which continues to struggle to provide affordable and non-discriminatory healthcare for Māori.  

Recognising the importance of increasing Māori representation across all sectors of healthcare and having leaders who truly represent our communities, New Zealand Health Group’s Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship has been created to support and empower Māori who are on a pathway to making a significant difference in the healthcare sector. 

Now in its fourth year, the scholarship has changed lives. Worth a total of $20,000, the scholarship is aimed at assisting individuals who are committed to advancing health equity outcomes in the community.  

“As Aotearoa’s largest home and community healthcare provider, we have a responsibility to contribute to a health system that works for all,” says Ranei Wineera-Parai, Kaitātari Tumuaki Māori, Executive Cultural Advisor for New Zealand Health Group. 

“This means acknowledging and addressing the unique challenges faced by Māori. Our Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship is one of the many ways we are working to make this a reality.” 

Why Māori Leadership Matters in Healthcare 

This is not about filling quotas or meeting diversity goals; it is about supporting Māori to take a leadership role in health, ensuring our country’s healthcare policies and practices are informed by those who have lived experience and deep cultural insights – leading to more culturally appropriate care and improved health outcomes for Māori. 

It’s no secret that a healthcare system which prioritises the voices of the communities also ensures that the services provided are more meaningful. So when Māori voices are heard and valued, the services we provide will be more responsive and respectful of Māori cultural values. It is through this lens of cultural safety and community-driven leadership that we can hope to address the systemic inequities that have long plagued the healthcare landscape in Aotearoa. 

The Impact of the Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship 

The Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship recognises that to achieve improved outcomes and greater equity in healthcare, it is critical to have Māori voices and perspectives at every level within the health sector.  

The past recipients of the scholarship are already making a difference across various fields of healthcare, driving initiatives that address the specific health needs of Māori populations. 

Supporting the Future of Māori Health Leaders 

Investing in the future of Māori health leaders is an investment in a healthier, more equitable Aotearoa. By providing financial support and opportunities for professional development, the Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship helps break down the barriers that can prevent Māori from pursuing careers in healthcare. 

Supporting aspiring Māori health leaders who want to drive positive change, together we can address the unique health challenges faced by our communities and make a tangible difference in the lives of our whānau while contributing to the transformation of the health sector. 

“We are proud to see our scholarship recipients go on to achieve remarkable things. They are becoming the change-makers, educators, and advocates that our healthcare system so desperately needs. Their success stories inspire us to continue our commitment to fostering Māori leadership and to expanding the impact of our initiatives,” says Ms Wineera-Parai. 

Moving Forward 

While the Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship is a significant step towards addressing health disparities, it is just one piece of a larger puzzle. True equity in healthcare requires systemic change, ongoing support for Māori health initiatives, and a collective effort to dismantle the barriers that perpetuate inequity. 

Supporting Māori leadership in healthcare is essential for addressing the long-standing health disparities faced by Māori communities. Through initiatives like the Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship, we are taking meaningful steps towards a more equitable and culturally inclusive healthcare system. 

Applications are now open for the Hiwa-i-te-rangi Māori Health Leadership Scholarship and close 5pm on 31 July 2024.