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June 14, 2013

DHB supports Maori into health careers

Recruiting Maori into health careers on the West Coast is becoming easier, with various initiatives supported by the local District Health Board (DHB).

Dianna McLean

Dianna McLean

The West Coast DHB can help people access funding for study toward a health career, support career pathway decisions, and is part of the Kia Ora Hauora - Maori Health as a Career programme.

Maori Health Manager Gary Coghlan says the number of Maori workers in the health and disability sector on the West Coast is low.

"It is a challenge to recruit health workers on the West Coast anyway, so that is going to compound for recruiting Maori health workers here," he says. "For example, we have been involved in a recruitment process for Maori primary mobile nurse positions with Rata Te Awhina Trust for the past few months and, like other nursing recruitment processes on the Coast, have found this challenging".

Maori are also needed in health, social worker and doctor roles, he says. Maori mortality rates are significantly higher than non-Maori on the West Coast and nationally.

"Maori often prefer to access a Maori health provider or a Maori health professional and studies show patients can have better outcomes from culturally-focussed services. But because the number of Maori working in the sector on the Coast is low, meeting the needs of the local Maori population can be an issue. Alongside improved Maori workforce development, a strategy that addresses responsiveness within mainstream services is also critical, and we are working on improvements to that."

Gary Coghlan says encouraging more Maori into study toward a health career is part of the solution. The West Coast DHB can help those who are interested to access funding and support them in making career choices.

"Dianna McLean is a great example of the fact that that anyone can achieve their career goals. There are opportunities for Maori, they just have to make that decision to work for it."

The West Coast DHB is part of the Kia Ora Hauora programme, which aims to increase the Maori health workforce. It was established in 2008 and has a national base at Counties Manukau DHB in Auckland. Te Waipounamu (Canterbury DHB) is its South Island base. A careers toolkit supporting schools, teachers, careers advisors, kaitautoko and whanau to help foster the aspirations and dreams of rangitahi in their career development was launched at a kapa haka competition at Westland High School in November 2012. This resulted in more than 30 registrations into the Kia Ora Hauora programme from Westland High School.

In addition, once a year, the West Coast DHB receives an allocation of spaces for trainees to be supported through Health Workforce NZ Hauora Maori funding. This funding is to support Maori health workers to gain more formal qualifications in their current roles and to develop their potential to move into other health sector roles. The funding covers such things as tuition fees, travel, and accommodation, clinical and cultural supervision.



For further information contact:

Erin Jamieson | Communications Team | m: 021 743 237 | t: 03 769 7400
Corporate - West Coast District Health Board | Grey Base Hospital, PO Box 387, Greymouth 7840

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