Nominations are being sought for a new scholarship awards to help grow and develop the Māori allied health professional workforce including supporting kaupapa Māori approaches.

The Pharmac-backed Ngā Taonga Mātauranga o Ngā Pou Mana Awards are to be run annually in league with Ngā Pou Mana Māori Allied Health Professionals (NPM).

The wide ranging allied health professions – which include physiotherapists, social workers, podiatrists and psychologists – make up about a third of the total health workforce but currently Māori make up only a very small percentage of the allied health workforce.

Teah Carlson, Deputy Chairperson for NPM, said the awards were to support Māori allied health workforce development, so that people could continue to study and to grow their professional and cultural practice. “The awards will provide much needed tautoko and manaaki for Māori kaimahi to continue their ongoing development.”

She said NPM also recognised  that the allied health workforce was changing with developments like Whānau Ora, the revitalisation of rongoā Māori practices, and Iwi and kaupapa Māori services.

“So we have tried to ensure the awards are inclusive and acknowledge the changing landscape. We are very supportive of kaupapa Māori approaches and believe that these can be incorporated alongside biomedical models of health…. and we are big supporters of whānau being able to have choice and options so that they can determine what they require in order to promote or enhance their own health and well-being. That is the beauty of the diverse range of knowledge and skills that can come from these allied health fields”.

Ātene Andrews, Pharmac’s Kaiwhakahaere Whakarata Māori, said the awards supported Pharmac’s support for Maori health workforce development.

“We see these awards as another incentive to the development of the Māori health workforce. We know that whānau really value having access to Māori health practitioners right across the spectrum, so we’re delighted to support this initiative.”

Nominations for the awards close on Friday October 19 Wednesday. Award applications and criteria can be found on the Ngā Pou Mana website www.ngapoumana.org.nz.

The awards will be offered in three categories – undergraduate, postgraduate and an award open to NPM member to develop their knowledge of things Māori  – and will be presented at Ngā Pou Mana Māori annual Hui-Ā-Tau.

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