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Māori Support Workers keeping their goals alive with the support of New Zealand Health Group scholarship

New Zealand Health Group has honoured three outstanding support workers as recipients of the 2022 Matariki Māori Support Worker Scholarship.

The recipients, Helen Moanaroa, Leslie Katene and Nikki Wells, have all been chosen for their commitment to improving health and wellbeing outcomes of vulnerable Māori in their communities. They will each receive a share of the $10,000 scholarship to assist them in advancing their training and qualifications.

Josephine Gagan, New Zealand Health Group Managing Director said “These support workers exemplify service delivery leadership in their daily work. They were selected for this scholarship because of their passion for building Māori equity in healthcare and their leadership aspirations.

Ranei Wineera-Parai, New Zealand Health Group Executive Cultural Advisor adds “New Zealand Health Group has always had a strong commitment to training and the professional development of its people. We established the Matariki Māori Support Worker Scholarship to encourage more Māori to be in decision making leadership roles within the health sector.

“We are incredibly proud of the dedication and abilities shown by Helen, Leslie and Nikki and we wish (add in them)  all the best in their promising careers and focus on enhancing Māori health,” said Ms Wineera-Parai.   

Nikki Wells is currently working part time as a support worker while pursuing her dream to become a paramedic with Wellington Free Ambulance and Saint John.

“This money allows me to engage with opportunities provided by Whitireia, Wellington Free Ambulance and Saint John. Currently I’m working part time on a very tight schedule, but the hours are barely enough to cover the bills… Scholarships like this allow me to pay for the simple things like fuel, any additional uniform, books and medical equipment that needs replacing.” says Nikki.

For the last 9 years, Leslie Katene has been on a personal journey to deepen and reconnect with her indigenous heritage.

“It has been my desire to eventually return to my whenua and take part in restoring the knowledge of the skills that have been lost and help reconnect our people back to their indigenous heritage. The financial support from the New Zealand Health Group scholarship will enable me to continue my studies in Tukutuku panels and Wharariki.

Helen Moanaroa says her aspirations are to manaakitanga nga tangata katoa. She is committed to continue upskilling herself and using these skills to help build relationships, to empower, and sustain wellbeing. Focusing on overall wellbeing – Mental, Physical, Spiritual and Emotional.