new zealand health group logo

Future Māori health leaders selected for scholarships

Two New Zealand Health Group scholarship recipients.

After working through a record number of submissions, we can now reveal the successful applicants for our Matariki (internal support worker) and Hiwa-i-te-rangi (public) Māori health leadership scholarships.

An aspiring doctor, community health worker and social worker are amongst the recipients of this years’ Hiwa-i-te-rangi scholarship, while our Matariki scholarship targeted to New Zealand Health Group support workers has gone to applicants studying in such diverse fields as Midwifery, Bicultural Social Work, and Psychology.

Hamilton-based Saya Karuna, Peter Parker from Otago, Jakara Moon who is studying in Hawkes Bay and Leonardo Semau from Auckland were selected for the Hiwa-i-te-rangi scholarship, and our Matariki scholarship will be shared between Izabella Presling-Cook, Vanessa Bennie, Ngaio Peters, Amelia Kolio, and Kylie King. Each of these individuals will receive financial contributions towards study-related costs such as tuition fees, living costs, or other study-related expenses.

Both these scholarships are designed to support more Māori to thrive in the health sector, ultimately increasing the amount of Māori voices in decision-making leadership roles. Each one of our successful applicants have shown that they’re on a pathway to making a significant difference to equity in the healthcare sector.

Regarding the Hiwa-i-te-rangi scholarship, Ranei Wineera-Parai, New Zealand Health Group Executive Cultural Advisor said: “We were delighted with the quantity and quality of applications for the scholarship. Now in its third year, we received 419 applications, a 240% increase on the prior year, which is a true testament to the strong desire to improve outcomes and greater equity in healthcare.

“If we want a meaningful, patient-centric health system, it is critical to have health care providers who not only represent their communities and understand the unique challenges and opportunities they face, but who also want to use their voices and perspectives at every level within the health sector to drive positive change for whānau.”

Jakara Moon is studying a Bachelor of Social Work at Eastern Institute of Technology. “The Hiwa-i-te-Rangi Scholarship holds great significance for me,” said Jakara. “It represents a profound commitment to the betterment of Māori communities and aligns perfectly with my aspirations as I pursue a degree in social work. With this scholarship, I am not only receiving financial support but also a symbol of trust and encouragement from the community to contribute to the wellbeing of our people.

After completing my social work degree, I am dedicated to using my knowledge and skills to make a meaningful impact on Māori communities. My plan is to work closely with local Māori organizations and agencies, addressing the unique challenges and opportunities that our communities face. I aim to empower individuals and families by providing culturally sensitive and holistic support, advocating for their rights, and facilitating access to essential resources and services,” she continued.

Studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) at Otago University, Peter Parker explains what the scholarship means: “The support of Hiwa-i-te-rangi is truly invaluable as it will significantly alleviate some of the burden of my course costs, making a significant impact on my career pursuit.

“I returned to study this year to pursue my dream of being a takūta (doctor). It came from a desire to seek more opportunities to grow my mātauranga hauora (health knowledge), mana tangata  (leadership skills) and takohanga (responsibility) in the community.

“Being a mature tauira, my work and life experiences have provided the foundations for my training. I continue to strive to contribute to the improvement of the healthcare quality, equity and outcomes, particularly for Māori. When I have completed my MBChB degree, I will commit myself to kaupapa (training) that I believe will aid me in making the biggest impact for my whānau, marae, hapu and iwi,” said Peter Parker.