There was a celebration of success at NorthTec’s Te Puna o Te Mātauranga marae last week (Wednesday 22 July) as nursing students celebrated the end of their study journey.

It was a big week for the 30 graduates, who sat their Nursing Council State Final Examination the day before, to qualify as Registered Nurses after three years (or more) of hard work and sacrifices.

Each student took the time to speak to all those present to acknowledge the huge support received from their families, NorthTec tutors and classmates, who helped them achieve their success.

Nursing tutor, Joanna Davison, spoke to the graduates and explained the importance of the whakawātea.

“You started your studies with a pōwhiri to welcome you into our NorthTec whānau, and with this whakawātea, we give you back to your whānau, your community and into a profession that we are all really proud of.”

She acknowledged the support the graduates received throughout their studies, saying: “Success is not the work of one, but the work of many. Thank you to your whānau and friends, your neighbours and your flatmates, for all that they did to support our students over the last three years.”

She encouraged the graduates: “Be confident in yourself, your potential and your aspirations. You will bring fresh eyes to our health practices and services. Keep questioning, asking and critiquing.

“I look at you and know the health of our community is in great hands. We are in a privileged profession. People are tāonga – hold that in your heart when you care for people and you will care for them well.”

Niki Te Puni (pictured left with her mother Raiquel Te Puni, a Registered Nurse) completed her studies for a Bachelor of Nursing and said the whakawātea gave her the opportunity to recognise and celebrate success, and give acknowledgement to families, tutors and fellow classmates.

She said there were many factors that inspired her to become a nurse: “Having a mum as a registered nurse, my daughter who has a bronchiectasis (a long-term condition), to give back to my community, my people, to find fulfilment in the mahi that I do – the list goes on! Looking back three years ago, that inspiration is still the same, but I have learnt through the degree that there is a need to improve inequities for Māori and improve health outcomes for all – knowing this absolutely fuels the fire in me to be a nurse.

“My mum has always been a great role model for me as not only a Registered Nurse, but a great mum and friend also. I always think if my mum could do it at 25 years old, married and with four children, then I really have no excuses! She is an absolute inspiration, proving all stereotypes wrong. My parents are a great example of hard work and determination.”

The nursing department at NorthTec anticipates seeing 70 graduates of the Bachelor of Nursing in March 2021 at the formal annual NorthTec graduation ceremony. NorthTec has two nursing intakes each year, and holds a marae-based whakawātea to farewell each group at the end of their studies.

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