The Tapuhi Kaitiaki Awards were presented during the Awards Dinner at the Indigenous Nurses Aotearoa Conference at the Pullman Hotel, Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland).

The awards are now in their second year and are one way in which PHARMAC supports Te Rūnanga o Aoteaoroa, NZNO, to develop the Māori nursing workforce to achieve the best health outcomes. They are also to recognise the positive influence Māori nurses have on whānau and the role they play as key influencers of health.

The Tapuhi Kaitiaki Awards are in two categories, with winners sharing a $10,000 prize in each category.

Category 1 – Nurse Practitioner/Nurse Prescriber – acknowledges Māori nurses who are on a professional development journey to become a nurse prescriber to advance their clinical practice and expertise.

Jo Clark-Fairclough (Te Rarawa, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Paoa) is a practice nurse at Te Hiku Hauora, a Māori iwi provider in Kaitāia, and one winner in this category. She says her motivation to become a nurse prescriber came from a lack of GP hours within the clinics she works at.

“This is a real barrier to young Māori receiving timely health care, and my becoming a nurse prescriber will improve health outcomes for our high Māori populations within Te Tai Tokerau,” she says.

The other three winners in this category were:

– Pirihira Puata (Ngai Takoto) a Nurse Prescriber at Mana Kidz, a free, nurse-led, school-based programme in the Counties Manukau Health region
– Eve Pogai (Ngāti Kahungungu) a Practice Nurse on the Nurse Practitioner Pathway who works at Kids in the Hawke’s Bay
– Aroha Ruha-Hiraka (Ngāti Awa, Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa, Tūhoe, Taranaki) a Practice Nurse on the Nurse Practitioner pathway working at Kawerau Medical Centre in the Bay of Plenty.
Category 2 – Māori Nurse Mātauranga – acknowledges nurses and tauira who wish to further their study and/or develop an innovative way to help whānau, hapū and iwi to access and understand their medicines.
One recipient in this category was Tamarah Thomason-Tata, (Rongowhakaata), a third year Bachelor of Nursing student at the Eastern Institute of Technology. She says she was quite surprised to receive this award, but that she feels very privileged and grateful to be a recipient.
“Awards like these help encourage Māori to excel in their chosen fields, whilst providing them financial means to further themselves. For myself these funds will go towards my student loan and state final exams – stepping stones to further my education and career.”
The other winners in this category were:
– Tumanako Bidois (Ngāti Rangiwewehi), who is completing her final year, Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Auckland
– Serene Morrell (Ngāti Kahungunu), a first-year Bachelor of Nursing student at the Eastern Institute of Technology
– Tracy Black (Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Whakatohea), a third-year Māori nursing student at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
– Logan Murray (Te Rarawa), a second-year Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery student at the University of Otago.

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